Conjugated α-linolenic acid (CLnA) was prepared from α-linolenic acid (9,12,15-18:3n-3, LnA) by alkaline treatment; we fractionated CLnA into three peaks by reversed-phase column-HPLC as evidenced by monitoring absorbance at 205, 235, and 268 nm. Peak I was a conjugated dienoic FA derived from LnA, whereas Peaks II and III were conjugated trienoic LnA. Proton NMR analysis showed that Peak III consisted of the all-trans isomer. The methylated Peak III was further divided into five peaks (Peaks IV-VIII) by silver ion column-HPLC. Peak V, a major constituent in the Peak III fraction, was identified as conjugated 10t,12t,14t-LnA by GC-EIMS and 1H NMR analysis. Peaks III and V, which consisted of conjugated all-trans trienoic LnA, had stronger growth-inhibitory effects on human tumor cell lines than the other collected peaks and strongly induced lipid peroxidation as compared with Peaks I, II, and LnA. We propose that conjugated all-trans trienoic FA have the strongest growth-inhibitory effect among the conjugated trienoic acids and conjugated dienoic acids produced by alkaline treatment of α-LnA, and that this effect is mediated by lipid peroxidation.
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