Dietary DHA could determine osteoblast formation
The phenotye of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) is very flexible and susceptible to autonomous cell and exogenous regulation. MSC differentiation produces exclusive membrane phenotypes for osteoblasts (bone cells synthesised by bone marrow) and adipocytes. Lipids are key components in plasma membranes, whose characteristics (composition, functions, etc.) they determine.
According to a research team at the Texas Health Science Center McGovern Medical School in Houston, the type of fat intake can affect whether MSCs become bone cells or fat cells. The membrane of osteoblasts is characteristically rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Based on this fact, the research group treated MSCs with fish oil (rich in DHA), observing that they turned into osteoblasts after the treatment.
These findings suggest a possible mechanism for many of the physiological effects of dietary lipids and could provide an explanation of the beneficial relationship between DHA and bone health.