The time course of changes in lipid metabolism by dietary n−3 PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats during pregnancy (days 12 and 21) and their macrosomic offspring at birth (day 0) and through adulthood (days 60 and 90) was studied with respect to adipose tissue, liver and serum lipid concentrations, and fatty acid composition. Glucose and insulin levels were also assessed in order to characterize the diabetic state of macrosomic offspring. Pregnant diabetic and control rats were fed either an Isio-4 or EPAX diet (enriched with n−3 PUFA). The same diets were also consumed by pups at weaning. Compared with control rats, during pregnancy diabetic rats had a significant elevation in liver and serum triacylglycerol (triglyceride) and cholesterol concentrations. At birth, macrosomic pups had higher serum insulin and glucose levels than control pups. The macrosomic rats maintained accelerated postnatal growth combined with high adipose tissue weight and lipid content through the first 12 weeks of age. The macrosomic pups from diabetic rats fed the Isio-4 diet also showed a significant enhancement in liver and serum triacylglycerol and cholesterol levels at birth and during adulthood. Feeding the EPAX diet to diabetic mothers as well as their macrosomic pups increased serum and liver levels of EPA (eicospentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) with a reduction in arachidonic acid. The EPAX diet induced a significant decrease in liver and serum triacylglycerol and cholesterol concentrations in mothers during pregnancy and in their macrosomic pups during adulthood. Since the EPAX diet improves lipid anomalies considerably in diabetic mothers and their macrosomic offspring, it may prevent long-term metabolic abnormalities associated with macrosomia.

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