The Korean Society For Biotechnology And Bioengineering

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Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering Journal - Vol. 34 , No. 1

[ Research Paper ]
Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering Journal - Vol. 34, No. 1, pp.10-14
Abbreviation: KSBB J
ISSN: 1225-7117 (Print) 2288-8268 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Mar 2019
Received 03 Dec 2018 Revised 12 Jan 2019 Accepted 25 Jan 2019

Oral Administration of Camelina Oil Effects on Body Weight and Serum Lipid of Mice
Yong Suk Chung1 ; Jung Ran Choi2 ; Sanghyeob Lee2, 3, *
1Department of Plant Resources and Environment, College of Applied Life Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju, Korea
2Department of Bio-resource engineering, Sejong University, Seoul, Korea
3Plant Engineering Research Institute, Sejong University, Seoul, Korea, Tel: +82-2-3408-4375, Fax: +82-2-3408-4318 (

카멜리나 오일이 쥐의 체중과 혈청지방에 미치는 영향
정용석1, ; 최정란2, ; 이상협2, 3, *
1제주대학교 생명자원과학대학 식물자원환경전공
2세종대학교 생명과학대학 바이오산업자원공학전공
3세종대학교 생명과학대학 식물공학연구소
Correspondence to : *Plant Engineering Research Institute, Sejong University, Seoul, Korea Tel: +82-2-3408-4375, Fax: +82-2-3408-4318 E-mail:

© 2019 The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Funding Information ▼


The seed of Camelina sativa is emerging as a good source of α-linolenic acid with enhanced vitamin E content. Therefore, we investigated health beneficial effects of camelina oil for utilization of food ingredient. In this study, we administrated orally camelina oil with normal (ND) and high-fat diet (HFD) feeing on mice and analyzed their effects on lower body weight gain, serum lipid profiling including total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein (HLD), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). In ND feeding mice, oral administration of camelina oil showed significantly lower body weight gain after two weeks compare to lack of camelina oil supplement, although the effect of body weight gain was not shown in HFD feeding mice. Camelina oil also effects on lipid profiles of mice serum. The levels of TC were significantly decreased by the camelina oil supplementation in ND feeding mice. These results suggested that camelina oil supplementation with moderate-fat consumption might have health benefits in body weight control and blood lipid profiles.

Keywords: ALA (alpha linolenic acid), camelina oil, lower body weight gain, omega-3 fatty acid, serum lipid profiling


The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide. Although it is clear that genetic factors contribute to the obesity, an important role for environmental factors cannot be neglected. Among those environmental factors, the consumption of a high energy density, high-fat diet (HFD) is thought to be one of the main factors [1,2]. In contrast supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) is a good way to relief risk factors in obesity [3]. However, present average daily intakes of n-3 PUFAs for most people is well below the recommended doses [4].

Although the metabolic converting efficiency is low, alphalinolenic acid (ALA; 18:3:3n-3) can be converted to eicosapentaenoic aicd (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFAs) [5-7]. Metabolites of this conversion relief several cardiovascular risk factors in humans [5,6,8-12]. The LC n-3 PUFAs are considered as significantly involved in serum lipid profiles change, weight loss, and reduced weight gain in animal and human [13-21].

To date most of ALAs have been supplied from marine-originated organism, such as edible fish oils [22-24]. Both unsustainable supply of wild fish-based oil and concerns over heavy metal accumulation in fish have accelerated interest in botanical sources of n-3 PUFAs such as flaxseed, walnuts, and algae [25,26].

The camelina has a number of great agronomic properties that make it beneficial as an oilseed crop, such as a relatively short growing season (85-100 days), winter and spring varieties, and facilitating rotation with other crops [27]. The camelina is called as false flaxseed, because the lipid profile is similar to those of flaxseed. The camelina is the second abundant oilseed in ALA and linoleic acids (LA), accounting for approximately 35 and 15%, respectively [27-29]. The level of Vitamin E in camelina is higher than other oilseed crops that is helpful for lower oxidative rancidity [30]. These kinds of advantages have drawn our attention to substitute current wild fish- or algaebased ALA supply.

The objective of this study is to evaluate health beneficial effects of camelina oil supplementation in HFD and normal diet (ND) feeding mice. For this purpose, 100 μL camelina oil /10g body weight were administrated daily till 11 week-periods. We reasoned that this quantity would be sufficient to evaluate our object based on other research. Body weight gains were measured weekly and serum lipid profiles were analyzed after 11 week-periods.

2.1. Animals

Experimental protocols were approved (#SJ-20141203) in accordance with the “Animal Care and Use Committee” of Sejong University, and experiments were performed in accordance with the “Korean Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals”. The male C57BL/6 mice were purchased from Central Lab Animal Inc. (Seoul, Korea) and were acclimatized for one week in an animal facility under temperature (22±2oC), humidity (50±10%), and a 12 h light/12 h dark cycle with food and water provided ad libitum. A total of 30 young male mice were randomly divided into four groups (n=7, 8). The normal diet (ND) with water, normal diet (ND) with camelina oil, high-fat diet (HFD) with water, high-fat diet (HFD) with camelina oil was fed on the four groups of mice.

2.2. Feed composition, feeding, weighting and biochemical assay

The ND was composed of 54% carbohydrates, 32% protein and 14% fat. The HFD was composed of 20 % carbohydrates, 20% protein and 60% fat. For first 4-week periods, either ND or HFD were fed to mice. Later, either commercial camelina oil (Jinice Camelina Oil, BC, Canada) or ddH2O (100 μL/10g body weight/day) were orally administered with both types of feeds till 1 weeks. Feed consumption and body weight were evaluated weekly. For biochemical assay, the blood sample was collected from the 11-week grown mice. The serum was separated from the blood samples by centrifugation at 3500 rpm for 10 minutes. Serum lipid profile, such as serum total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein (HLD), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were analyzed by ELISA kit (BioVision, CA, USA) using automatic chemical analyzer (BioTek, VT, USA).

2.3. Statistical analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS statistical software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). In order to effects of camelina oil on body weight gain and serum lipid profiles, independent t-test and Wilcoxon Rank-Sum test were applied between with and without oral administration of camelina oil. Below 0.05 p-value was considered as a significance.


In order to investigate the effects of camelina oil on lower body weight gain in mice, daily oral administration of camelina oil with normal (ND) or high-fat diet (HFD) feeding had been applied on mice for 11-weeks preriod. After one-week oral administration, little effect on body weight was observed both ND and HFD feeing mice (Table 1). From second to 11th weeks after oral administration of camelina oil, significant lower body weight gain was observed in ND feeding mice. However, HFD feeding mice could not show consistently significant lower body weight gain by oral administration of camelina oil, except several time points (4th, 5th, and 8th week) showed significantly reduced body weight gain (Table 1). These results indicate that regular oral administration of camelina oil could lower body weight gain in mice, especially on ND feeding condition.

Table 1. 
Comparison of body weight between supplementation and non-supplementation of camelina oil
Week(s) after
Body weight (g) p-valuea Body weight (g) p-valuea
High-fat diet Normal diet
ddH2Ob Camellia oil ddH2Ob Camellia oil
1 22.15±0.92 21.72±0.85 0.285 45.86±1.62 44.08±5.42 0.13
2 22.96±0.82 22.25±0.65 0.046 46.85±0.64 44.90±5.40 0.08
3 23.51±0.88 22.55±0.51 0.010 47.50±0.35 45.48±6.56 0.10
4 23.91±0.90 22.84±0.81 0.011 48.86±0.49 47.06±3.02 0.05
5 25.60±0.90 24.43±0.62 0.004 50.03±1.27 47.75±3.20 0.02
6 25.83±0.86 24.80±0.82 0.013 48.28±1.22 47.20±2.01 0.17
7 26.38±0.97 25.25±1.03 0.019 49.80±1.28 48.76±3.39 0.27
8 26.87±0.97 25.87±0.92 0.029 51.43±1.18 49.23±1.99 0.01
9 27.75±0.92 26.60±0.64 0.005 51.31±0.84 50.88±1.90 0.53
10 27.47±1.26 26.51±0.67 0.038 51.65±1.93 50.81±0.59 0.22
11 28.22±1.08 26.78±0.77 0.003 51.23±1.29 50.24±1.62 0.20
ap-value was calculated by t-test.
brepresent distilled water.

Some ALA-rich oil showed lower body weight gain in not obese condition but normal conditions [30]. Others showed lower body weight on both obese and normal condition. For example, ALA-rich flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) oil showed lower bodyweight gain [32]. Interestingly, oral administration of intermediate or final metabolic products of ALA, such as EPA, DHA, and LC n-3 PUFAs showed prohibition of obesity and reduce body fat content in both animal and human [13]. Even if already obese condition, similar effects were observed [13].

This kind of disagreements on the effect of lower body weight gain by oral administration of divergent sources of ALA could be explain by the efficiency of the conversion rate from ALA to other LCPUFAs (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid) [6, 33]. Several studies showed that the conversion of ALA to LCPUFAs is control by the ratio of LA/ALA. High and low LA/ALA ratio decreases and increases the conversion of ALA to LCPUFAs, respectively [5,6,33]. When we compare the LA/ALA ratio of camelina (~2.5) and flaxseed oil (4.0), better effect on lower body weight gain by application of flaxseed oil than those of camelina oil could not explained. When we consider low efficient conversion rate from ALA to LCPUFAs and high amount of ALA content in flaxseed oil, better effect on lower body weight gain by application of flaxseed oil could be speculated by higher concentration of ALA.

Barceló-Coblijn et al. [34] also proposed this kind of hypothesis, in spite of conversion efficiency to PUFAs based on different LA/ALA ratio, ALA is a crucial dietary source for maintaining tissue LC n-3 PUFAs levels [34].

In order to investigate effects of camelina oil supplementation on serum lipid profiles (Table 2). Oral administration of camelina oil significantly decreased TC in serum of ND feeding mice. However, significant effects on TG, HLD, and LDL levels were not observed in serum of ND with camelina oil feeding mice. Different effects on serum lipid profiles by oral administration of camelina oil in HFD feeding mice serum were observed. In the serum of HFD feeding with camelina supplement, the level of TG and TC significantly increased compared to non-supplement of camelina oil. The other lipid profiles were mildly increased in HFD feeding with oral administration of camelina oil.

Table 2. 
Comparison of serum lipid profiles between supplementation and non-supplementation of camelina oil
Normal diet p-valuea High-fat diet p-valuea
ddH2Ob Camellia oil Fold changeg ddH2Ob Camellia oil Fold change
TCc 0.86±0.36 0.38±0.09 -2.26 0.01 0.36±0.07 0.66±0.30 +1.83 0.04
TGd 2.21±2.18 7.82±5.74 0.80 1.71±3.01 6.91±3.51 +4.04 0.02
HDLe 0.92±0.02 0.98±0.92 0.94 1.41±0.82 2.73±0.84 0.17
LDLf 7.92±3.98 10.74±6.08 0.74 20.64±4.17 17.00±4.62 0.28
LDH/HDL 8.61 10.96 14.64 6.23
ap-value was calculated by t-test.
brepresent distilled water.
c,d,e,frepresent total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, respectively.
gIncreased (+) or decreased (-) fold changes were presented when statistically significant (p-value < 0.05).

Other studies also showed decreased level of TC in both ND and HFD with ALA intake [34,35]. However, discrepant effects of ALA-rich oil supplementation on the level of TG observed [24,27,31,34-37]. Even if ALA supplementation did not alter TG concentrations, increased level of LCPUFAs was observed [33]. Similar with camelina oil, ALA-rich chia seed supplement also did not improve the blood lipid profile in overweight men and women [38,39]. The beneficial effects of ALA may be neutralized by the high cholesterol contents of camelina oil, because camelina seed have relatively high cholesterol content [40]. This hypothesis could be verified by further studies including extracting pure ALA from camelina oil and monitoring of their effect on blood serum profiles.

Karvonen et al. [24] also reported that camelina oil did not affect the levels of TG or HDL, but improved LDL/HDL ratio [24]. Although significant lipid profile changes by camelina supplementation were not also observed overall in this study, camelina oil supplementation improved LDL/HDL ratio from 14.64 to 6.23 in HFD feeding mice (Table 2). This may imply that camelina oil supplementation could not decreased or increase amounts of LDL and HDL, respectively. However, application of camelina oil could improve LDL/HDL ratio that is not sufficient to reach ideal ratio 1 ~3.5. Conclusively, we could suspect camelina oil has an effect on improving serum lipid profiles, especially LDL/HDL ratio for high-fat diet. The mechanism that induce modification of lipid profiles was shown in this study should be explained by further study.


In this study, we revealed promising results on lower body weight gain by camelina oil supplementation, especially ND. Besides, there was general trend to lower body weight gain in HFD. Although we could not observe significant improvement on amount of each fatty acid components, improvement of LDL/HDL ratio in HFD was observed. Furthermore, consider optimized LA/ALA ratio and high level of vitamin E content, camelina oil could be good alternative of fish- and algae-based ALA (omega-3) supplementation.

These two authors contributed equally.


This work was supported by the Bio-industry Technology Development Program [grant number 312033-5, 316087-4, and 117043-3] of iPET (Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry) and the Next-Generation Bio-Green 21 Program (Plant Molecular Breeding Center No. PJ01329601) of the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea to SL.

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