Dietary fish oil inhibits pro-inflammatory and ER stress signalling pathways in the liver of sows during lactation
Lactating sows have been shown to develop typical signs of an inflammatory condition in the liver during the transition from pregnancy to lactation. Hepatic inflammation is considered critical due to the induction of an acute phase response and the activation of stress signaling pathways like the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced unfolded ... protein response (UPR), both of which impair animal´s health and performance. Whether ER stress-induced UPR is also activated in the liver of lactating sows and whether dietary fish oil as a source of anti-inflammatory effects n-3 PUFA is able to attenuate hepatic inflammation and ER stress-induced UPR in the liver of sows is currently unknown. Based on this, two experiments with lactating sows were performed. The first experiment revealed that ER stress-induced UPR occurs also in the liver of sows during lactation. This was evident from the up-regulation of a set of genes regulated by the UPR and numerically increased phosphorylation of the ER stress-transducer PERK and PERK-mediated phosphorylation of eIF2alpha and IkappaB. The second experiment showed that fish oil inhibits ER stress-induced UPR in the liver of lactating sows. This was demonstrated by decreased mRNA levels of a number of UPR-regulated genes and reduced phosphorylation of PERK and PERK-mediated phosphorylation of eIF2alpha and IkappaB in the liver of the fish oil group. The mRNA levels of various nuclear factor-kappaB-regulated genes encoding inflammatory mediators and acute phase proteins in the liver of lactating sows were also reduced in the fish oil group. In line with this, the plasma levels of acute phase proteins were reduced in the fish oil group, although differences to the control group were not significant. In conclusion, ER stress-induced UPR is present in the liver of lactating sows and fish oil is able to inhibit inflammatory signaling pathways and ER stress-induced UPR in the liver.