Raewyn Poulsen

Doctor of Philosophy, (Biochemistry)
Study Completed: 2008
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and their possible interaction with phytoestrogens: Impact on bone and bone cell function in vivo and in vitro

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Poulsen studied the effects of individual long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) on bone in models of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Inflammation is a major contributor to the development of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Omega-3 LCPUFAs are anti-inflammatory and may have a role in minimising postmenopausal bone loss. Results showed that n-3 LCPUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) significantly protected against bone loss. DHA combined with 17ß-oestradiol (the oestrogen used in Hormone Replacement Therapy) had significantly greater bone-protective effects than either treatment alone. However, DHA combined with two compounds from soy with oestrogenic activity had no beneficial effect on bone mass. DHA’s mechanism of action on bone cells was explored. The presence of lipid mediators generated from DHA, which have potent anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving bioactivity, was demonstrated for the first time in bone marrow. The research findings may have implications for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Professor Marlena Kruger
Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan
Dr Fran Wolber