The depressive effects of 5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid (20:3n-9) on osteoblasts

Tomohito Hamazaki, Nobuo Suzuki, Retno Widyowati, Tatsuro Miyahara, Shigetoshi Kadota, Hiroshi Ochiai, Kei Hamazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In cases of essential fatty acid deficiency, 5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid (Mead acid, 20:3n-9) is synthesized from oleic acid as a 20-carbon analog of arachidonic acid. It was reported that 20:3n-9 levels were markedly higher in human fetal cartilage than in the muscle, liver and spleen. We, therefore, hypothesized that 20:3n-9 decreased osteoblastic activity. Goldfish scales were incubated either with 20:3n-9 or with oleic acid at 15 °C for 6 and 18 h. Both osteoblastic and osteoclastic activities in the scale were assessed by measuring alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase, respectively. MC3T3-E1 cells (an osteoblast cell line derived from the mouse) were incubated with 20:3n-9 or oleic acid at 37 °C for 6 and 18 h. ALP activity in cell lysate was measured. In the case of experiments with scales, 20:3n-9 (1-100 μM) significantly suppressed osteoblastic activity after 6 and 18 h of incubation, whereas oleic acid did not change this activity. Osteoclastic activity was not affected either by 20:3n-9 or by oleic acid. In the case with the cell line, osteoblastic activity was again significantly decreased with 20:3n-9 (10-30 μM) after 6-h incubation but not after 18 h incubation. The presence of 20:3n-9 in fetal cartilage may be important for the prevention of calcification in the cartilage. 20:3n-9 could be applied to some clinical situations where bone formation should be inhibited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Cartilage
  • Co-culture
  • Fatty acids
  • Goldfish scales
  • Osteoclasts


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