(538c) Molecular Dynamics Study of the Biophysical Consequences of Dietary Fish Oil Incorporation into Model Membranes
AIChE Annual Meeting
Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 3:45pm to 4:00pm
We present results from coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations on changes to the biophysical properties of model cell membranes induced by incorporation of increasing concentrations of dietary fish oil supplements. Regular consumption of fish oils is believed to have beneficial cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory health effects due to their high concentrations of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It remains unclear, however, what the molecular mechanisms of action of these bioactive molecules are. Using multicomponent, symmetric lipid bilayer membrane models, we assessed the consequences of fish oil incorporation on membrane biophysical properties such as lipid packing, water permeation, and lipid dynamics. Our molecular simulations indicated that increasing incorporation resulted in significant perturbation of lipid packing, increased water permeation into the hydrophobic membrane core, and overall membrane fluidization. We also observed that high fish oil supplementation levels induced significant cholesterol redistribution within the membrane, thereby reducing the expected lipid ordering effect of cholesterol and promoting further water permeation. Taken together, these membrane changes induced by fish oils are reminiscent of the changes induced by cholesterol depletion on membrane fluidity and lipid order, membrane alterations that may play a direct role in reducing chronic inflammation.