The compositional and metabolic responses of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) to a gradient of dietary fish oil and associated n-3 long-chain PUFA content

Sam J S Houston, Vasileios Karalazos, John Tinsley , Mónica B Betancor, Samuel A M Martin, Douglas R Tocher, Oscar Monroig (Corresponding Author)

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The replacement of fish oil (FO) with vegetable oil (VO) in feed formulations reduces the availability of n-3 long-chain PUFA (LC-PUFA) to marine fish such as gilthead seabream. The aim of this study was to examine compositional and physiological responses to a dietary gradient of n-3 LC-PUFA. Six iso-energetic and iso-nitrogenous diets (D1–D6) were fed to seabream, with the added oil being a blend of FO and VO to achieve a dietary gradient of n-3 LC-PUFA. Fish were sampled after 4 months feeding, to determine biochemical composition, tissue fatty acid concentrations and lipid metabolic gene expression. The results indicated a disturbance to lipid metabolism, with fat in the liver increased and fat deposits in the viscera reduced. Tissue fatty acid profiles were altered towards the fatty acid compositions of the diets. There was evidence of endogenous modification of dietary PUFA in the liver which correlated with the expression of fatty acid desaturase 2 (fads2). Expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (srebp1), fads2 and fatty acid synthase increased in the liver, whereas PPARα1 pathways appeared to be supressed by dietary VO in a concentration-dependent manner. The effects in lipogenic genes appear to become measurable in D1–D3, which agrees with the weight gain data suggesting that disturbances to energy metabolism and lipogenesis may be related to performance differences. These findings suggested that suppression of β-oxidation and stimulation of srebp1-mediated lipogenesis may play a role in contributing toward steatosis in fish fed n-3 LC-PUFA deficient diets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1010-1022
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2017


  • Gilthead seabream
  • vegetable oil
  • fish oil
  • essential fatty acids
  • lipid metabolism

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