Effects of fatty acid supplementation on gene expression, lifespan, and biochemical changes in wild type and mutant C. elegans strains



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Supplementation of diet with omega-3 fatty acids has proven to be beneficial and directly associated with human health development. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) generate pro-resolving lipid mediators during the resolution phase of acute inflammation. In this dissertation, we were interested in studying the effects of fatty acid supplementation on gene expression, lifespan, and biochemical changes in wild-type and mutant C. elegans strains. The choice of C. elegans for this investigation is based on the fact that, unlike mammals, C. elegans does not require essential fatty acids in its diet because it is capable of synthesizing PUFAs such as arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid using saturated and monosaturated fatty acids from bacteria as precursors. In addition, C. elegans mutant strains such as tub-1 and fat-3 are also available. In contrast to wild-type, mutant strain fat-3 lacks 6 desaturase activity and fails to produce any of the common C20 PUFAs while in mutant strain tub-1 the functional loss of tubby ortholog called tub-1/F10B5.5 in C. elegans leads to accumulation of triglycerides, which are the major form of stored fat. Our findings show that C. elegans is suitable model to study the effects of PUFAs on aging, gene expression, fatty acid metabolism, and biochemical composition changes. Quantitative PCR did not show significant effects of EPA supplementation, probably because worms were not synchronized. When worms were synchronized using microfluidic device, long-term consumption of PUFAs (eicosapentaenoic acid) resulted in accelerated aging due to peroxidation of the unsaturation but statistically not significant. Our exploratory investigation using Fourier Transform Infrared microspectroscopy was revealed to be interesting. The results showed that not only biochemical change (in lipids and proteins) occur during C. elegans lifespan, but also as a result of supplementation of the growth media with saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.



C. elegans, Lifespan, Microfluidics, FTIR, Oxidative stress, Fat metabolism