Dietary influences of evening primrose and fish oil on the skin of essential fatty acid-deficient guinea pigs. Academic Article uri icon


  • There have been reports that certain dietary lipids are capable of regulating cellular inflammation and hyperproliferation. To investigate further the role of dietary manipulation involving gamma-linolenic acid (18:3n-6) and eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) on hyperproliferative cellular components, the effects of orally administered primrose oil (containing 18:3n-6) and menhaden fish oil (containing 20:5n-3) were tested in a cutaneous system using the essential fatty acid (EFA)-deficient guinea pig fed a hydrogenated coconut oil (HCO) diet. The effects of the dietary crossover regimen were determined on epidermal 1) morphology, 2) DNA synthesis, 3) delta 6- and delta 5-desaturase activities and 4) fatty acid composition of skin and liver lipids. Our results demonstrated that dietary fish oil lacked the capacity to reverse the signs of epidermal hyperproliferation, acanthosis and hypergranulosis that are characteristic of EFA deficiency. In contrast, primrose oil feeding reversed the histological and biochemical signs of hyperproliferation. These results suggest that dietary fish oil, which contains largely the 20:5n-3 fatty acid, lacks EFA-functional properties in the skin. In addition, substitution of HCO with primrose or fish oil after 6 wk revealed incorporation of 18:3n-6 and 20:5n-3 into epidermal lipids, respectively. The significance of these altered epidermal fatty acid profiles is discussed.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr

altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Chapkin, R. S., Ziboh, V. A., & McCullough, J. L.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Chapkin, RS||Ziboh, VA||McCullough, JL

publication date

  • January 1987