Effects of Diets Enriched in Omega-9 or Omega-6 Fatty Acids on Reproductive Process

  • Seyedeh Neda Mousavi Mail Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
  • Fariba Koohdani Department of Cellular Molecular Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Farzad Shidfar Department of Nutrition, School of Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Leila Shafiei-Neek Department of Sport Physiology, School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Gestation, Sex Ratio, Offspring, Dietary Oil


Objective: Maternal type and amounts of dietary fatty acids affect on reproductive process in the mice. The present study investigated the effects of maternal supplementation with different amounts of omega-6 or omega-9 during pregnancy on the number of offspring, sex-ratio and duration of gestation.Materials and methods: Eight-week-old female C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned into four dietary groups including low omega-6 (16%; LO6), low omega-9 (16%; LO9), high omega-6 (45%; HO6) and high omega-9 (45%; HO9) during gestation. Number of offspring, sex-ratio and duration of pregnancy were compared among four dietary groups.Results: There was significant difference between LO6 and HO6 (p < 0.0001), LO9 and HO9 (p < 0.0001) groups in total number of pups. The number of female and male offspring were significantly different between LO6 and LO9 (p = 0.009 and p = 0.001, respectively), LO9 and HO9 (p = 0.01 and p = 0.025) groups. Duration of pregnancy was significantly higher in low fat diet than high fat diet groups (< 0.001).Conclusion: High fat diet reduced number of pups, gestation duration and lead to early labor. Omega-9 fatty acids shifted sex of offspring to females.


Kind KL, Moore VM, Davies MJ. Diet around conception and during pregnancy-effects on fetal and neonatal outcomes. Reprod Biomed Online 2006;12:532-41.

Davies MJ. Evidence for effects of weight on reproduction in women. Reprod Biomed Online 2006;12:552-61.

De Vries PS, Gielen M, Rizopoulos D, Rump P, Godschalk R, Hornstra G, Et al. Association between polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations in maternalplasma phospholipids during pregnancy and offspring adiposity at age 7: the MEFABcohort. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2014; 91:81-5.

Ailhaud G, Guesnet P, Cunnane SC. An emerging risk factor for obesity: does disequilibrium of polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism contribute to excessive adipose tissue development? Br J Nutr 2008; 100: 461–70.

Rustan AC, Drevon CA. Fatty Acids: Structures and Properties. London: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, Nature Publishing, 2005.

Dorgan J, McMahon R, Friedman L, Van Horn L, G. Snetselaar, O. Kwiterovich p, Et al. Diet and sex hormones in girls: findings from a randomized controlled clinical trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2003; 95:132–41.

Baguma-Nibasheka M, Brenna JT, Nathanielsz PW. Delay of preterm delivery in sheep by omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturates. Biol Reprod 1999;60: 698–701.

Robinson RS, Pushpakumara PG, Cheng Z, Peters AR, Abayasekara DR, Wathes DC. Effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on ovarian and uterine function in lactating dairy cows. Reproduction 2002;124: 119–31.

Trujillo EP, Broughton KS. Ingestion of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and ovulation in rats. J Reprod Fertil 1995;105:197–203.

Nonogaki T, Noda Y, Goto Y, Kishi J, Mori T. Developmental blockage of mouse embryos caused by fatty acids. J Assist Reprod Genet 1994; 11: 482–8.

Aitken RJ, Wingate JK, De Iuliis GN, Koppers AJ, McLaughlin EA.Cis-unsaturated fatty acids stimulate reactive oxygen species generation and lipid peroxidation in human spermatozoa. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2006; 91: 4154-63.

Hong MY, Chapkin RS, Barhoumi R, Burghardt RC, Turner ND, Henderson CE, Et al. Fish oil increases mitochondrial phospholipid unsaturation, upregulating reactive oxygen species and apoptosis in rat colonocytes. Carcinogenesis 2002; 23: 1919–25.

Flachs P, Horakova O, Brauner P, Rossmeisl M, Pecina P, Franssen-van Hal N, Et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids of marine origin upregulate mitochondrial biogenesis and induce β-oxidation in white fat. Diabetologia2005;48: 2365-75.

Takahashi T, Takahashi E, Igarashi H, Tezuka N, Kurachi H. Impact of oxidative stress in aged mouse oocytes on calcium oscillations at fertilization. Mol Reprod Dev 2003;66: 143–52.

Diakogiannaki E, Welters HJ, Morgan NG. Differential regulation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response in pancreatic beta-cells exposed to long-chain saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. J Endocrinol 2008;197: 553–63.

Li Z, Berk M, McIntyre TM, Gores GJ, Feldstein AE. The lysosomal-mitochondrial axis in free fatty acid-induced hepatic lipotoxicity. Hepatology 2008; 47: 1495–503.

Crawford MA, Doyle W, Meadows N. Gender differences at birth anddifferences in fetal growth. Hum Reprod 1987; 2: 517–20.

Schrauwen P, Hesselink MK. Oxidative capacity, lipotoxicity, and mitochondrial damage in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes 2004; 53:1412–7.

Gamba CA, Friedman SM, Rodriguez PN, Macri EV, Vacas MI, Lifshitz F. Metabolic status in growing rats fed isocaloric diets with increased carbohydrate-to-fat ratio. Nutrition. 2005;21:249-54.

Vatten LJ, Skjaerven R. Offspring sex and pregnancy outcome by length of gestation. Early Hum Dev 2004; 76: 47–54.

Abraham S, Faulkin LJ, Mitchell DJ. Attenuation of mammary duct development by menhaden oil in BALB/c mice. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1991; 196: 222–9.

Fountain E, Mao J, Whyte J, Mueller K, Ellersieck M, Will J, et al. Effects of Diets Enriched in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Offspring Sex-Ratio and Maternal Behavior in Mice. Biology of Reproduction 2008;78: 211–17.

Korotkova M, Gabrielsson BG, Holmang A, Larsson BM, Hanson LA, Strandvik B. Gender-related long-term effects in adult rats by perinatal dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2005; 288: R575–9.

Song C, Leonard BE, Horrobin DF. Dietary ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid but not soybean oil reverses central interleukin-1-induced changes in behavior, corticosterone and immune response in rats. Stress 2004; 7: 43–54.

Bilby TR, Block J, do Amaral BC, Sa Filho O, Silvestre FT, Hansen PJ, Et al. Effects of dietary unsaturated fatty acids on oocyte quality and follicular development in lactating dairy cows in summer. J Dairy Sci 2006; 89: 3891–903.

Kubagawa HM, Watts JL, Corrigan C, Edmonds JW, Sztul E, Browse J, Et al. Oocyte signals derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids control sperm recruitment in vivo. Nat Cell Biol 2006; 8: 1143–8.

Wamsley NE, Burns PD, Engle TE, Enns RM. Fish meal supplementation alters uterine prostaglandin F2alpha synthesis in beef heifers with low luteal-phase progesterone. J Anim Sci 2005; 83:1832– 8.

Gutierrez-Adan A, Perez G, Granados J, Garde JJ, Perez-Guzman M, Pintado B and De La Fuente J. Relationship between sex ratio and time of insemination according to both time of ovulation and maturational state of oocyte. Zygote 1999; 7: 37–43.

Rivers JP, Crawford MA. Maternal nutrition and the sex ratio at birth. Nature 1974; 252: 297– 8.

Mitra J, Chowdhury M. Glycerylphosphorylcholine diesterase activity of uterine fluid in conditions including secondary sex ratio change in the rat. Gamete Res 1989; 23: 415–20.

Ferguson EM, Leese HJ. A potential role for triglyceride as an energy source during bovine oocyte maturation and early embryo development. Mol Reprod Dev 2006; 73: 1195-201.

Wakefield SL, Lane M, Schulz SJ, Hebart ML, Thompson JG, Mitchell M.Maternal supply of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids alters mechanisms involved in oocyte and early embryo development in the mouse. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2008; 294: E425- 34.

How to Cite
Mousavi SN, Koohdani F, Shidfar F, Shafiei-Neek L. Effects of Diets Enriched in Omega-9 or Omega-6 Fatty Acids on Reproductive Process. J Fam Reprod Health. 10(2):85-91.
Original Articles