Essential fats found to play a role in gene expression

A Canadian study established that essential fats from plants are important regulators of proteins that are exuded by muscle tissue. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA) are the polyunsaturated fatty acids that greatly affect the expression of genes responsible for skeletal muscle secretome.

The study was led by researchers from the University of Guelph. Its findings were published ahead of print on the online journal Physiological Genomics.

  • A rat model consisted of four groups of animals: A lean group that ate a normal diet, an obese group that received ALA supplements alongside normal food, a second obese group that got LA supplements instead of ALA, and a third obese group that subsisted on normal food and served as a control.
  • By the 12th week of the trial, both ALA and LA-supplemented rats exhibited reduced levels of blood glucose than the obese control animals. The supplemented animals also possessed better glucose tolerance.
  • The ALA-treated rats showed higher levels than the LA-treated rats, suggesting that the former has greater effects.
  • Analysis of muscle and RNA samples taken from the sacrificed animals came up with more than 135 genes that changed their expression according to the food eaten by the animal. Some of these genes controlled 15 proteins that were secreted by muscles.
  • The expression of most of these proteins in lean animals differed from those in obese groups.

Their findings led the researchers to suggest that polyunsaturated fatty acids like LA and ALA are able to alter the gene expression of proteins such as the skeletal muscle secretomes.

You can examine the full study at this site.

For more articles on beneficial nutrients from plants, visit

Journal Reference:

Rajna A, Gibling H, Sarr O, Matravadia S, Holloway GP, Mutch DM. ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID AND LINOLEIC ACID DIFFERENTIALLY REGULATE THE SKELETAL MUSCLE SECRETOME OF OBESE ZUCKER RATS. Physiological Genomics. 2 August 2018;50(8):580–589. DOI: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00038.2018

comments powered by Disqus