2021 Volume 70 Issue 10 Pages 1469-1480
Dietary fish oil containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been reported to affect the diversity and composition of gut microbiota and bacterial metabolites. However, few reports have focused on the effects of EPA and DHA on gut microbiota diversity and bacterial metabolites. This study evaluated the effects of dietary EPA-ethyl ester (EE) and DHA-EE on steroid metabolism, gut microbiota, and bacterial metabolites in Wistar rats. Male rats were fed the experimental diets containing 5% (w/w) soybean oil-EE (SOY diet), EPA-EE (EPA diet), and DHA-EE (DHA diet) for four weeks. The lipid contents in the serum and liver, mRNA expression levels in the liver, and the diversity, composition, and metabolites of the gut microbiota were evaluated. The EPA and DHA diets decreased serum and liver cholesterol contents compared to the SOY diet. In addition, there were no significant changes in gene expression levels related to steroid metabolism in the liver between the EPA and DHA groups. Rats fed the DHA diet had lower microbiota diversity indices, such as Simpson and Shannon indices, than rats fed the SOY and EPA diets. In addition, rats fed EPA and DHA had significant differences in the relative abundance of microbiota at the genus level, such as Phascolarctobacterium, Turicibacter, and [Eubacterium]. Therefore, it was concluded that EPA and DHA have different effects on the diversity and composition of gut microbiota under the experimental conditions employed herein.