An abundant biliary fatty acid metabolite derived from dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids regulates triglycerides

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Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil reduce triglyceride levels in mammals, yet the mechanisms underlying this effect have not been fully clarified despite the clinical use of omega-3 ethyl esters to treat severe hypertriglyceridemia and reduce cardiovascular disease risk in humans. Here we identified in bile a class of hypotriglyceridemic omega-3 fatty acid-derived N-acyl taurines (NATs) that, after dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, increased to concentrations similar to those of steroidal bile acids. The biliary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) containing NAT, C22:6 NAT, was increased in human and mouse plasma after dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and potently inhibited intestinal triacylglycerol hydrolysis and lipid absorption. Supporting this observation, genetic elevation of endogenous NAT levels in mice impaired lipid absorption, while selective augmentation of C22:6 NAT levels protected against hypertriglyceridemia and fatty liver. When administered pharmacologically, C22:6 NAT accumulated in bile and reduced high fat diet-induced, but not sucrose-induced, hepatic lipid accumulation in mice, suggesting that C22:6 NAT was a negative feedback mediator that limited excess intestinal lipid absorption. Thus, biliary omega-3 NATs may contribute to the hypotriglyceridemic mechanism of action of fish oil and could influence the design of more potent omega-3 fatty acid-based therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere143861
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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