Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are functionally the most important omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Oral supply of these fatty acids increases their levels in plasma and cell membranes, often at the expense of the omega-6 PUFAs arachidonic acid (ARA) and linoleic acid. This results in an altered pattern of lipid mediator production to one which is less pro-inflammatory. We investigated whether short term intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs could change the levels of EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid in plasma and erythrocytes in patients with hepatic colorectal metastases.
Twenty patients were randomised to receive a 72 hour infusion of total parenteral nutrition with (treatment group) or without (control group) omega-3 PUFAs. EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid were measured in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) and erythrocytes at several times points up to the end of infusion and 5 to 12 days (mean 9 days) after stopping the infusion.
The treatment group showed increases in plasma PC EPA and DHA and erythrocyte EPA and decreases in plasma PC and erythrocyte linoleic acid, with effects most evident late in the infusion period. Plasma PC and erythrocyte EPA and linoleic acid all returned to baseline levels after the 5–12 day washout. Plasma PC DHA remained elevated above baseline after washout.
Intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs results in a rapid increase of EPA and DHA in plasma PC and of EPA in erythrocytes. These findings suggest that infusion of omega-3 PUFAs could be used to induce a rapid effect especially in targeting inflammation.
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00942292
Parenteral nutrition; Fish oil; Omega-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Arachidonic acid; Liver metastases
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) form an important constituent of all the cell membranes in the body. PUFAs such as arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) form precursors to both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds. Low-grade systemic inflammation occurs in clinical conditions such as insulin resistance, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, lupus, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias, cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that are also characterized by an alteration in the metabolism of essential fatty acids in the form of excess production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids and possibly, decreased synthesis and release of anti-inflammatory lipoxins, resolvins, protectins and maresins. We propose that low-grade systemic inflammation observed in these clinical conditions is due to an imbalance in the metabolism of essential fatty acids that is more in favour of pro-inflammatory molecules. In this context, transgenic fat-1 mouse that is designed to convert n-6 to n-3 fatty acids could form an ideal model to study the altered metabolism of essential fatty acids in the above mentioned conditions. It is envisaged that low-grade systemic inflammatory conditions are much less likely in the fat-1 mouse and/or these diseases will run a relatively mild course. Identifying the anti-inflammatory compounds from n-3 fatty acids that suppress low-grade systemic inflammatory conditions and understanding their mechanism(s) of action may lead to newer therapeutic strategies.
In inflammatory joint disease, such as osteoarthritis (OA), there is an increased level of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β. These cytokines stimulate the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which leads to the degradation of the cartilage extracellular matrix and the loss of key structural components such as sulphated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) and collagen II. The aim of this study was to examine the therapeutic potential of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in an in vitro model of cartilage inflammation.
Two specific n-3 compounds were tested, namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), each at 0.1, 1 and 10 μM. Full thickness bovine cartilage explants, 5 mm in diameter, were cultured for 5 days with or without IL-1β and in the presence or absence of each n-3 compound. The media were replaced every 24 hours and assayed for sGAG content using the 1,9-dimethylmethylene blue (DMB) method. Chondrocyte viability was determined at the end of the culture period using fluorescence microscopy to visualise cells labelled with calcein AM and ethidium homodimer.
Treatment with IL-1β (10 ng.ml-1) produced a large increase in sGAG release compared to untreated controls, but with no effect on cell viability, which was maintained above 80% for all treatments. In the absence of IL-1β, both n-3 compounds induced a mild catabolic response with increased loss of sGAG, particularly at 10 μM. By contrast, in the presence of IL-1β, both EPA and DHA at 0.1 and 1 μM significantly reduced IL-1β-mediated sGAG loss. The efficacy of the EPA treatment was maintained at approximately 75% throughout the 5-day period. However, at the same concentrations, the efficacy of DHA, although initially greater, reduced to approximately half that of EPA after 5 days. For both EPA and DHA, the highest dose of 10 μM was less effective.
The results support the hypothesis that n-3 compounds are anti-inflammatory through competitive inhibition of the arachidonic acid oxidation pathway. The efficacy of these compounds is likely to be even greater at more physiological levels of IL-1β. Thus we suggest that n-3 PUFAs, particularly EPA, have exciting therapeutic potential for preventing cartilage degradation associated with chronic inflammatory joint disease.
While investigating new mechanisms by which the dietary omega-3 fatty acids regulate inflammation, the authors have identified a new step in the regulation of neutrophil migration across vascular endothelial cells.
Inflammation is a physiological response to tissue trauma or infection, but leukocytes, which are the effector cells of the inflammatory process, have powerful tissue remodelling capabilities. Thus, to ensure their precise localisation, passage of leukocytes from the blood into inflamed tissue is tightly regulated. Recruitment of blood borne neutrophils to the tissue stroma occurs during early inflammation. In this process, peptide agonists of the chemokine family are assumed to provide a chemotactic stimulus capable of supporting the migration of neutrophils across vascular endothelial cells, through the basement membrane of the vessel wall, and out into the tissue stroma. Here, we show that, although an initial chemokine stimulus is essential for the recruitment of flowing neutrophils by endothelial cells stimulated with the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-α, transit of the endothelial monolayer is regulated by an additional and downstream stimulus. This signal is supplied by the metabolism of the omega-6-polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-6-PUFA), arachidonic acid, into the eicosanoid prostaglandin-D2 (PGD2) by cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. This new step in the neutrophil recruitment process was revealed when the dietary n-3-PUFA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), was utilised as an alternative substrate for COX enzymes, leading to the generation of PGD3. This alternative series eicosanoid inhibited the migration of neutrophils across endothelial cells by antagonising the PGD2 receptor. Here, we describe a new step in the neutrophil recruitment process that relies upon a lipid-mediated signal to regulate the migration of neutrophils across endothelial cells. PGD2 signalling is subordinate to the chemokine-mediated activation of neutrophils, but without the sequential delivery of this signal, neutrophils fail to penetrate the endothelial cell monolayer. Importantly, the ability of the dietary n-3-PUFA, EPA, to inhibit this process not only revealed an unsuspected level of regulation in the migration of inflammatory leukocytes, it also contributes to our understanding of the interactions of this bioactive lipid with the inflammatory system. Moreover, it indicates the potential for novel therapeutics that target the inflammatory system with greater affinity and/or specificity than supplementing the diet with n-3-PUFAs.
Inflammation is a physiological response to tissue trauma or infection. Neutrophils, which circulate in the blood stream, are the first inflammatory cells to be recruited to a site of tissue inflammation. In response to recruitment signals provided by chemotactic peptides called chemokines, neutrophils traverse the endothelial cell lining of blood vessels. This process involves a multistep cascade of neutrophil adhesion and activation events on the endothelial barrier. While investigating the anti-inflammatory functions of the omega-3 fatty acid , EPA, which is found, for instance, in dietary fish oil, we identified an additional unexpected lipid-derived signal that is essential for neutrophil migration across the endothelium. Our experiments show that a chemokine delivered the first signal needed to bind neutrophils firmly to the endothelial surface. However, in order to traverse the endothelium, a subsequent signal delivered by prostaglandin-D2 (PGD2), a lipid derived from the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, was essential. When EPA, was introduced into the experiment, it was used to form PGD3. This alternative lipid blocked interactions between PGD2 and its receptor on neutrophils, preventing the process of migration across the endothelial barrier. Thus, we reveal a new step in the recruitment of neutrophils during inflammation, and a novel anti-inflammatory mechanism of action of dietary EPA.
Omega-3 PUFAs are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and different mechanisms are involved. GPR120 is a G-protein coupled receptor that has recently received attention because of its anti-inflammatory signalling properties after binding omega-3 PUFAs. However, both omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs are natural GPR120 ligands. The aim of this study was to study possible differences in GPR120-mediated signalling events after treatment with different long-chain PUFAs in intestinal epithelial cells. We also investigated possible GPR120-mediated anti-inflammatory effects of different long-chain PUFAs that may be relevant in the understanding of how dietary PUFAs influence inflammatory responses in inflammatory diseases such as IBD.
We used Caco-2 cells as a model system to study GPR120-mediated signalling events because we found this cell line to express GPR120, but not GPR40, another plasma membrane receptor for medium- and long chain fatty acids. Increase in cytosolic Ca2+concentration, activation of MAP kinase ERK1/2 and the inhibition of IL-1β induced NF-κB activity were studied to reveal potential differences in the activation of GPR120 by the omega-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the omega-6 PUFA arachidonic acid (AA).
We found that EPA, DHA and AA enhanced the cytosolic concentration of the second messenger Ca2+ with the same efficiency, but with different kinetics. Both omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs activated MAP kinase ERK1/2, but differences regarding kinetics and intensity were also observed in this pathway. ERK1/2 activation was shown to be dependent upon EGFR and Raf-1. We further investigated the ability of EPA, DHA and AA to inhibit NF-κB activity in Caco-2 cells. All PUFAs tested were able to inhibit IL-1β induced breakdown of IκBα after binding to GPR120, but with different potency.
Our results show that EPA, DHA and AA elicit the same signalling events, but with different kinetics and efficiency through GPR120 in Caco-2 cells. We show, for the first time, that both omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs inhibit NF-κB activation in intestinal epithelial cells. Our results may be important for understanding how dietary PUFAs influence inflammatory processes relevant in delineating effects of PUFAs in the treatment of IBD.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs); GPR120 Caco-2 cells
The fatty acid mixture of human milk is ideal for the newborn but little is known about its composition in the first few weeks of lactation. Of special interest are the levels of long-chain PUFAs (LCPUFAs), since these are essential for the newborn’s development. Additionally, the LCPUFAs arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are precursors for lipid mediators which regulate inflammation.
We determined the composition of 94 human milk samples from 30 mothers over the first month of lactation for fatty acids using GC-MS and quantified lipid mediators using HPLC-MS/MS.
Over the four weeks period, DHA levels decreased, while levels of γC18:3 and αC18:3 steadily increased. Intriguingly, we found high concentrations of lipid mediators and their hydroxy fatty acid precursors in human milk, including pro-inflammatory leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving lipoxin A4 (LXA4), resolvin D1 (RvD1) and resolvin E1 (RvE1). Lipid mediator levels were stable with the exception of two direct precursors.
Elevated levels of DHA right after birth might represent higher requirements of the newborn and the high content of anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving lipid mediators and their precursors may indicate their role in neonatal immunity and may be one of the reasons for the advantage of human milk over infant formula.
Human milk; Omega-3 fatty acids; DHA; EPA; 17-HDHA; 18-HEPE; 15-HETE; Resolvins; Lipoxins; Leukotrienes
Consumption of ω-3 fatty acids from fish oil, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), decreases risk for heart failure and attenuates pathologic cardiac remodeling in response to pressure overload. Dietary supplementation with EPA+DHA may also impact cardiac mitochondrial function and energetics through alteration of membrane phospholipids. We assessed the role of EPA+DHA supplementation on left ventricular (LV) function, cardiac mitochondrial membrane phospholipid composition, respiration, and sensitivity to mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening in normal and infarcted myocardium. Rats were subjected to sham surgery or myocardial infarction by coronary artery ligation (n=10–14), and fed a standard diet, or supplemented with EPA+DHA (2.3% of energy intake) for 12 weeks. EPA+DHA altered fatty acid composition of total mitochondrial phospholipids and cardiolipin by reducing arachidonic acid content and increasing DHA incorporation. EPA+DHA significantly increased calcium uptake capacity in both subsarcolemmal and intrafibrillar mitochondria from sham rats. This treatment effect persisted with the addition of cyclosporin A, and was not accompanied by changes in mitochondrial respiration or coupling, or cyclophilin D protein expression. Myocardial infarction resulted in heart failure as evidenced by LV dilation and contractile dysfunction. Infarcted LV myocardium had decreased mitochondrial protein yield and activity of mitochondrial marker enzymes, however respiratory function of isolated mitochondria was normal. EPA+DHA had no effect on LV function, mitochondrial respiration, or MPTP opening in rats with heart failure. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with EPA+DHA altered mitochondrial membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition in normal and infarcted hearts, but delayed MPTP opening only in normal hearts.
eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; myocardial infarction; mitochondrial permeability transition pore
The inflammatory response is designed to help fight and clear infection, remove harmful chemicals, and repair damaged tissue and organ systems. Although this process, in general, is protective, the failure to resolve the inflammation and return the target tissue to homeostasis can result in disease, including the promotion of cancer. A plethora of published literature supports the contention that dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and eicosapentaenoic (EPA, 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) in particular, are important modulators of a host's inflammatory/immune responses. The following review describes a mechanistic model that may explain, in part, the pleiotropic anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties of EPA and DHA. In this review, we focus on salient studies that address three overarching mechanisms of n-3 PUFA action: (i) modulation of nuclear receptor activation, i.e., nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) suppression; (ii) suppression of arachidonic acid–cyclooxygenase-derived eicosanoids, primarily prostaglandin E2-dependent signaling; and (iii) alteration of the plasma membrane micro-organization (lipid rafts), particularly as it relates to the function of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and T-lymphocyte signaling molecule recruitment to the immunological synapse (IS). We propose that lipid rafts may be targets for the development of n-3 PUFA-containing dietary bioactive agents to down-modulate inflammatory and immune responses and for the treatment of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered essential omega-3 fatty acids in human nutrition. In marine microalgae EPA and/or DHA are allegedly involved in the regulation of membrane fluidity and thylakoid membrane functioning. The cellular content of EPA and DHA may therefore be enhanced at low temperature and irradiance conditions. As a result, polar and cold temperate marine microalgal species might potentially be suitable candidates for commercial EPA and DHA production, given their adaptation to low temperature and irradiance habitats.
In the present study we investigated inter- and intraspecific EPA and DHA variability in five polar and (cold) temperate microalgae. Intraspecific EPA and DHA content did not vary significantly in an Antarctic (Chaetoceros brevis) and a temperate (Thalassiosira weissflogii) centric diatom after acclimation to a range of irradiance levels at two temperatures. Interspecific variability was investigated for two Antarctic (Chaetoceros brevis and Pyramimonas sp. (Prasinophyceae)) and three cold-temperate species (Thalassiosira weissflogii, Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae) and Fibrocapsa japonica (Raphidophyceae)) during exponential growth. Interspecific variability was shown to be much more important than intraspecific variability. Highest relative and absolute levels of DHA were measured in the prymnesiophyte E. huxleyi and the prasinophyte Pyramimonas sp., while levels of EPA were high in the raphidophyte F. japonica and the diatoms C. brevis and T. weissflogii. Yet, no significant differences in LC-PUFA content were found between polar and cold-temperate species. Also, EPA and DHA production rates varied strongly between species. Highest EPA production rate (174 μg L-1 day-1) was found in the Antarctic diatom Chaetoceros brevis, while DHA production was highest in the cold-temperate prymnesiophyte Emiliania huxleyi (164 μg L-1 day-1). We show that, following careful species selection, effective mass cultivation of marine microalgae for EPA and DHA production may be possible under low temperature and irradiance conditions.
Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Thalassiosira weissflogii; Chaetoceros brevis; Fibrocapsa japonica; Emiliania huxleyi; Pyramimonas sp.
Unsaturated fatty acids, including n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6, DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5, EPA), and a series of n-6 PUFAs were investigated for their anti-tumour and antimetastatic effects in a subcutaneous (s.c.) implanted highly metastatic colon carcinoma 26 (Co 26Lu) model. EPA and DHA exerted significant inhibitory effects on tumour growth at the implantation site and significantly decreased the numbers of lung metastatic nodules. Oleic acid also significantly inhibited lung metastatic nodules. Treatment with arachidonic acid showed a tendency for reduction in colonization. However, treatment with high doses of fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, increased the numbers of lung metastatic nodules. DHA and EPA only inhibited lung colonizations when administered together with the tumour cells, suggesting that their incorporation is necessary for an influence to be exerted. Chromatography confirmed that contents of fatty acids in both tumour tissues and plasma were indeed affected by the treatments. Tumour cells pretreated with fatty acids in vivo, in particular DHA, also showed a low potential for lung colony formation when transferred to new hosts. Thus, DHA treatment exerted marked antimetastatic activity associated with pronounced change in the fatty acid component of tumour cells. The results indicate that uptake of DHA into tumour cells results in altered tumour cell membrane characteristics and a decreased ability to metastasize.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a low-grade systemic inflammatory condition, since liver and adipose tissue tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and TNF receptor 1 transcripts and serum TNF-α levels are increased and IL-6-/- mice are less prone to NAFLD. Fatty liver damage caused by high-fat diets is associated with the generation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). A decrease in the levels of arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the usefulness of EPA and DHA both in the prevention and management of NAFLD has been reported. AA, EPA and DHA and their anti-inflammatory products lipoxins (LXs), resolvins and protectins suppress IL-6 and TNF-α and PGE2 production. These results suggest that the activities of Δ6 and Δ5 desaturases are reduced in NAFLD and hence, the dietary essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) are not metabolized to their long-chain products AA, EPA and DHA, the precursors of anti-inflammatory molecules, LXs, resolvins and protectins that could pre vent NAFLD. This suggests that an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory bioactive lipids contribute to NAFLD. Hence, it is proposed that plasma and tissue levels of AA, EPA, DHA and LXs, resolvins and protectins could be used as predictors and prognostic biomarkers of NAFLD. It is suggested that the synthesis and use of more stable analogues of LXs, resolvins and protectins need to be explored in the prevention and management of NAFLD.
Prostaglandins; Lipids; Arachidonic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Docosahexaenoic acid; Lipoxins; Resolvins; Protectins; Cytokines; Free radicals; Hyperlipidemia
Clinical studies suggest that intake of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA) may lower the incidence of heart failure. Dietary supplementation with ω-3 PUFA exerts metabolic and anti-inflammatory effects that could prevent left ventricle (LV) pathology; however, it is unclear whether these effects occur at clinically relevant doses and whether there are differences between ω-3 PUFA from fish [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and vegetable sources [α-linolenic acid (ALA)].
Methods and results
We assessed the development of LV remodelling and pathology in rats subjected to aortic banding treated with ω-3 PUFA over a dose range that spanned the intake of humans taking ω-3 PUFA supplements. Rats were fed a standard food or diets supplemented with EPA+DHA or ALA at 0.7, 2.3, or 7% of energy intake. Without supplementation, aortic banding increased LV mass and end-systolic and -diastolic volumes. ALA supplementation had little effect on LV remodelling and dysfunction. In contrast, EPA+DHA dose-dependently increased EPA and DHA, decreased arachidonic acid in cardiac membrane phospholipids, and prevented the increase in LV end-diastolic and -systolic volumes. EPA+DHA resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the anti-inflammatory adipokine adiponectin, and there was a strong correlation between the prevention of LV chamber enlargement and plasma levels of adiponectin (r = −0.78). Supplementation with EPA+DHA had anti-aggregatory and anti-inflammatory effects as evidenced by decreases in urinary thromboxane B2 and serum tumour necrosis factor-α.
Dietary supplementation with ω-3 PUFA derived from fish, but not from vegetable sources, increased plasma adiponectin, suppressed inflammation, and prevented cardiac remodelling and dysfunction under pressure overload conditions.
α-linolenic acid; Diet; Docosahexaenoic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Heart failure
The development of leukemia and lymphomas is related to the increase in inflammatory
process modulators. These, in turn, have divergent actions on the neoplastic process.
Populations of T cells have different roles in the neoplastic environment; while
interferon-gamma positive T cells have antitumor activity, the FoxP3+interleukin-10
positive population present a pro-tumor activity. Simultaneously, the inflammatory
process promotes the mobilization of fatty acids from the cell membrane to produce
lipid mediators, which also participate of the inflammatory response.
Eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids, when
incorporated in the plasmatic membrane, decrease the arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism
and the production of eicosanoids derived from it. Thus, an alternative family of
lipid mediators are produced that are often less inflammatory than those produced
from arachidonic acid. Fatty acids can also influence the production of peptide
mediators such as cytokines, and the expression of transcription factors, which can
determine the production patterns of eicosanoids and cytokines as well as cell
differentiation. Due to these properties, the objective of this literature review was
to investigate studies published over the last 15 years on the effects of using
omega-3 fatty acids on inflammatory markers in leukemia and lymphomas.
Fatty acids, omega-3; Inflammation; Hematologic neoplasms; Leukemia; Lymphoma; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acids; Tumor markers, biological
EPA and DHA have been reported to have anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies revealed that these positive actions of n-3 PUFA at least partially are connected with their influence on metabolism and secretory functions of the adipose tissue. However, their impact on old adipocytes is still poorly understood. Therefore the aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of EPA and DHA on markers of inflammation in 3T3-L1 cells at different stages of cellular maturation.
Young, mature and old differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes were cultured for 48 h in the presence of 100 μM EPA, or 50 μM DHA complexed to albumin, whereas in control conditions only albumin was added to the medium. The Oil Red O staining was used to confirm adipocytes differentiation, and measure triglycerides content in cells. The concentration of adipokines (interleukin 6, adiponectin and leptin) in conditioned media was measured using mouse-specific ELISA kits.
The fat accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes was positively correlated with their age; however, EPA and DHA did not affect lipid accumulation on any stage of maturation. EPA and DHA increased the concentration of secreted adiponectin when compared with control, but only in the case of young adipocytes (58% and 35%, respectively). Moreover, EPA supplementation increased interleukin 6 concentration in conditioned medium, while DHA exerted an opposite effect on all stages of cellular maturation. Furthermore, EPA treatment increased leptin release from young cells, while DHA did not affect the secretion of this adipokine. In mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes both experimental factors decreased synthesis of leptin; however, in old cells no impact of these PUFA was noted.
In summary, age is an important determinant of fat accumulation in adipocytes and affects adipokines secretion by these cells. Moreover, the impact of investigated fatty acids: EPA and DHA on fat cells varies depending on the stage of maturation, and seems to be stronger in young cells than in mature and old ones. Docosahexaenoic acid exerts an anti-inflammatory action; however, on the basis of the obtained data it was not possible to determine whether eicosapentaenoic acid shows anti- or pro-inflammatory properties.
Adipocytes; Ageing; Inflammation; Obesity; EPA; DHA
Long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) such as EPA and DHA have been shown to possess beneficial health effects, and it is believed that many of their effects are mediated by their oxygenated products (oxylipins). Recently, we have shown that serum levels of several hydroxy, epoxy, and dihydroxy FAs are dependent on the individual status of the parent FAs in a cohort of normo- and hyperlipidemic subjects. So far, the effect of an increased dietary LC n-3 PUFA intake on hydroxy, epoxy, and dihydroxy FA levels has not been investigated in subjects with mild combined hyperlipidemia.
Subjects and Methods
In the present study, we compared oxylipin patterns of 10 hyperlipidemic (cholesterol >200 mg/dl; triglyceride >150 mg/ml) and 10 normolipidemic men in response to twelve weeks of LC n-3 PUFA intake (1.14 g DHA and 1.56 g EPA). Levels of 44 free hydroxy, epoxy and dihydroxy FAs were analyzed in serum by LC-MS. Additionally, oxylipin levels were compared with their parent PUFA levels in erythrocyte membranes; a biomarker for the individual PUFA status.
Differences in the oxylipin pattern between normo- and hyperlipidemic subjects were minor before and after treatment. In all subjects, levels of EPA-derived oxylipins (170–4,800 pM) were considerably elevated after LC n-3 PUFA intake (150–1,400 %), the increase of DHA-derived oxylipins (360–3,900 pM) was less pronounced (30–130 %). The relative change of EPA in erythrocyte membranes is strongly correlated (r ≥ 0.5; p<0.05) with the relative change of corresponding epoxy and dihydroxy FA serum levels. The effect on arachidonic acid (AA)-derived oxylipin levels (140–27,100 pM) was inconsistent.
Discussion and Conclusions
The dietary LC PUFA composition has a direct influence on the endogenous oxylipin profile, including several highly biological active EPA- and DHA-derived lipid mediators. The shift in oxylipin pattern appears to be dependent on the initial LC PUFA status particularly for EPA. The finding that also levels of other oxylipins derived from ALA, LA or AA are modified by LC n-3 PUFA intake might suggest that at least some of the effects of EPA and DHA could be mediated by a shift in the entire oxylipin profile.
eicosanoids; epoxides; diols; EPA; DHA; PUFA; arachidonic acid; hyperlipidemia; omega-3 fatty acids
It has been recognized that certain long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are involved in inflammation and its resolution. It has also been shown that ethnicity may be a factor in affecting systemic inflammation, and limited evidence suggests it may influence plasma LC-PUFA composition. Given the links among these three factors, we aim to determine ethnicity-based differences in plasma LC-PUFA composition among White, Black, Hispanic and Chinese participants, and whether such differences contribute to variations in markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in a sub-cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Plasma phospholipid LC-PUFAs levels (%) were determined in 2848 MESA participants using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. Enzyme immunoassays determined inflammatory markers levels for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (n =2848), interleukin-6 (n =2796), soluble tumor necrosis factor-α receptor type 1 (n =998), and endothelial activation markers soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (n =1192) and soluble E-selectin (n =998).
The modifying influence of ethnicity was tested by linear regression analysis.
Chinese adults were found to have the highest mean levels of plasma eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 1.24%) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 4.95%), and the lowest mean levels of γ-linolenic (0.10%), dihomo-γ-linolenic (DGLA, 2.96%) and arachidonic (10.72%) acids compared with the other ethnicities (all P≤0.01). In contrast, Hispanics had the lowest mean levels of plasma EPA (0.70%) and DHA (3.49%), and the highest levels of DGLA (3.59%; all P≤0.01). Significant differences in EPA and DHA among ethnicities were attenuated following adjustment for dietary non-fried fish and fish oil supplementation. Ethnicity did not modify the associations of LC-PUFAs with markers of inflammation or endothelial activation (all Pinteraction>0.05).
The absence of a modifying effect of ethnicity indicates that the putative benefits of LC-PUFAs with respect to inflammation are pan-ethnic. Future longitudinal studies may elucidate the origin(s) of ethnicity-based differences in LC-PUFA composition and whether certain patterns, that is, high plasma levels of DGLA and low levels of EPA/DHA, contribute to inflammation-associated health outcomes.
race; endothelial activation; inflammation; fatty acid; omega-3; omega-6
There is increasing evidence that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a role in cancer risk and progression. The n-3 family of PUFAs includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) while the n-6 family includes linolenic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA). EPA and DHA are precursors for anti-inflammatory lipid mediators while AA is a precursor for pro-inflammatory lipid mediators. Collectively, PUFAs play crucial roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis, and perturbations in dietary intake or PUFA metabolism could result in cellular dysfunction and contribute to cancer risk and progression. Epidemiologic studies provide an inconsistent picture of the associations between dietary PUFAs and cancer. This discrepancy may reflect the difficulties in collecting accurate dietary data; however, it also may reflect genetic variation in PUFA metabolism which has been shown to modify physiological levels of PUFAs and cancer risk. Also, host-specific mutations as a result of cellular transformation could modify metabolism of PUFAs in the target-tissue. Clinical trials have shown that supplementation with PUFAs or foods high in PUFAs can affect markers of inflammation, immune function, tumor biology, and prognosis. Pre-clinical investigations have begun to elucidate how PUFAs may mediate cell proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis, and the signaling pathways involved in these processes. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current evidence linking PUFAs and their metabolites with cancer and the molecular mechanisms that underlie this association. Identifying the molecular mechanism(s) through which PUFAs affect cancer risk and progression will provide an opportunity to pursue focused dietary interventions that could translate into the development of personalized diets for cancer control.
polyunsaturated fatty acids; cancer; pre-clinical testing; epidemiologic studies; clinical trials as topic; clinical trials; phase II as topic; review of literature
Cross-sectional studies have found that an elevated ratio of arachidonic acid to omega-3 fatty acid is associated with depression, and controlled intervention studies have found that decreasing this ratio through administration of omega-3 fatty acids can alleviate depressive symptoms. Additionally, arachidonic acid and omega-3 fatty acids have opposing effects on inflammatory signaling. Exogenous administration of the inflammatory cytokine interferon-alpha (IFN-α) can trigger a depressive episode in a subset of vulnerable people, though associated risk factors remain poorly understood. Using a within-subject prospective design of 138 subjects, we examined whether baseline long-chain omega-3 (docosahexaenoic acid – DHA; eicosapentaenoic acid – EPA) and omega-6 (arachidonic acid – AA; di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid – DGLA) fatty acid status was associated with depression vulnerability in hepatitis C patients treated with IFN-α. Based on the literature, we had specific a priori interest in the AA/EPA+DHA ratio. Lower baseline DHA predicted depression incidence (p=0.04), as did elevated DGLA (p=0.02) and an elevated AA/EPA+DHA ratio (p=0.007). The AA/EPA+DHA ratio predicted depression even when controlling for other critical variables such as sleep quality and race. A higher AA/EPA+DHA ratio was positively associated with both increasing Montgomery-Asperg Depression Rating Scores over time (F=4.0; p<0.05) as well as interleukin-6 levels (F=107.4; p<0.05) but not C-reactive protein. Importantly, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid status was not associated with sustained viral response to IFN-α treatment. These prospective data support the role of fatty acid status in depression vulnerability and indicate a potential role for omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of inflammation-induced depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids; Inflammation; Arachidonic acid; Cytokine; Interleukin-6; C-reactive protein; Major depressive disorder
Aggressive periodontitis (AgP) is a rapidly progressing type of periodontal disease in otherwise healthy individuals which causes destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth. The disease is initiated by pathogenic bacteria in the dental biofilm, and the severity of inflammation and attachment loss varies with the host response. Recently, there has been an increased interest in determining the role of lipid mediators in inflammatory events and the concept of pro-inflammatory and pro-resolution lipid mediators has been brought into focus also in periodontal disease. The present study aimed to determine the profile of omega-3 or n3- as well as omega-6 or n6- polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and PUFA-metabolites of linoleic acid, arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), saliva and serum in AgP patients and healthy controls. In total, 60 selected n3- and n6-PUFAs and various PUFA metabolites were measured using high performance liquid chromatography-tandem electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS-MS). Of these, 51 could be quantified in this study. The concentrations of the majority were low in saliva samples compared with serum and GCF, but were mainly higher in AgP patients compared with healthy controls in all three kinds of sample. Ratios of n3- to n6-PUFAs (DHA + EPA)/AA were significantly lower in the GCF of AgP patients than in the healthy controls. Furthermore, various ratios of the direct precursors of the pro-resolution lipid mediators (precursors of resolvins and protectins) were calculated against the precursors of mainly pro-inflammatory lipid mediators. These ratios were mainly lower in GCF and saliva of AgP patients, compared with healthy controls, but only reached significance in GCF (P<0.05). To conclude, the ratios of precursors of pro-resolution/pro-inflammatory lipid mediators seem to be more relevant for describing the disease status of AgP than the concentration of specific lipid mediators.
DNA topoisomerases (topos) and DNA polymerases (pols) are involved in many aspects of DNA metabolism such as replication reactions. We found that long chain unsaturated fatty acids such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (i.e., eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) inhibited the activities of eukaryotic pols and topos in vitro, and the inhibitory effect of conjugated fatty acids converted from EPA and DHA (cEPA and cDHA) on pols and topos was stronger than that of normal EPA and DHA. cEPA and cDHA did not affect the activities of plant and prokaryotic pols or other DNA metabolic enzymes tested. cEPA was a stronger inhibitor than cDHA with IC50 values for mammalian pols and human topos of 11.0 – 31.8 and 0.5 – 2.5 μM, respectively. cEPA inhibited the proliferation of two human leukemia cell lines, NALM-6, which is a p53-wild type, and HL-60, which is a p53-null mutant, and the inhibitory effect was stronger than that of normal EPA. In both cell lines, cEPA arrested in the G1 phase, and increased cyclin E protein levels, indicating that it blocks the primary step of in vivo DNA replication by inhibiting the activity of replicative pols rather than topos. DNA replication-related proteins, such as RPA70, ATR and phosphorylated-Chk1/2, were increased by cEPA treatment in the cell lines, suggesting that cEPA led to DNA replication fork stress inhibiting the activities of pols and topos, and the ATR-dependent DNA damage response pathway could respond to the inhibitor of DNA replication. The compound induced cell apoptosis through both p53-dependent and p53-independent pathways in cell lines NALM-6 and HL-60, respectively. These results suggested the therapeutic potential of conjugated PUFA, such as cEPA, as a leading anti-cancer compound that inhibited pols and topos activities.
conjugated eicosapentaenoic acid (cEPA); DNA polymerase; DNA topoisomerase; enzyme inhibitor; DNA replication; cell proliferation; cell cycle arrest; p53; apoptosis
Marine derived oils are rich in long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, in particular eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have long been associated with health promoting effects such as reduced plasma lipid levels and anti-inflammatory effects. Krill oil (KO) is a novel marine oil on the market and is also rich in EPA and DHA, but the fatty acids are incorporated mainly into phospholipids (PLs) rather than triacylglycerols (TAG). This study compares the effects of fish oil (FO) and KO on gene regulation that influences plasma and liver lipids in a high fat diet mouse model.
Male C57BL/6J mice were fed either a high-fat diet (HF) containing 24% (wt/wt) fat (21.3% lard and 2.3% soy oil), or the HF diet supplemented with FO (15.7% lard, 2.3% soy oil and 5.8% FO) or KO (15.6% lard, 2.3% soy oil and 5.7% KO) for 6 weeks. Total levels of cholesterol, TAG, PLs, and fatty acid composition were measured in plasma and liver. Gene regulation was investigated using quantitative PCR in liver and intestinal epithelium.
Plasma cholesterol (esterified and unesterified), TAG and PLs were significantly decreased with FO. Analysis of the plasma lipoprotein particles indicated that the lipid lowering effect by FO is at least in part due to decreased very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) content in plasma with subsequent liver lipid accumulation. KO lowered plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) with a minor effect on fatty acid accumulation in the liver. In spite of a lower omega-3 fatty acid content in the KO supplemented diet, plasma and liver PLs omega-3 levels were similar in the two groups, indicating a higher bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids from KO. KO more efficiently decreased arachidonic acid and its elongation/desaturation products in plasma and liver. FO mainly increased the expression of several genes involved in fatty acid metabolism, while KO specifically decreased the expression of genes involved in the early steps of isoprenoid/cholesterol and lipid synthesis.
The data show that both FO and KO promote lowering of plasma lipids and regulate lipid homeostasis, but with different efficiency and partially via different mechanisms.
Omega-3 fatty acids; Plasma lipids; High-fat diet; Gene regulation; Krill oil
Dietary ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) decrease cardiovascular risk via suppression of inflammation. The generation of electrophilic α,β-unsaturated ketone derivatives of the ω-3 PUFAs docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) in activated human macrophages is catalyzed by cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2). These derivatives are potent pleiotropic anti-inflammatory signaling mediators that act via mechanisms including the activation of Nrf2-dependent phase 2 gene expression and suppression of pro-inflammatory NF-κB-driven gene expression. Herein, the endogenous generation of ω-3 PUFAs electrophilic ketone derivatives and their hydroxy precursors was evaluated in human neutrophils. In addition, their dietary modulation was assessed through a randomized clinical trial.
Endogenous generation of electrophilic omega-3 PUFAs and their hydroxy precursors was evaluated by mass spectrometry in neutrophils isolated from healthy subjects, both at baseline and upon stimulation with calcium ionophore. For the clinical trial, participants were healthy adults 30–55 years of age with a reported EPA+DHA consumption of ≤300 mg/day randomly assigned to parallel groups receiving daily oil capsule supplements for a period of 4 months containing either 1.4 g of EPA+DHA (active condition, n = 24) or identical appearing soybean oil (control condition, n = 21). Participants and laboratory technicians remained blinded to treatment assignments.
5-lypoxygenase-dependent endogenous generation of 7-oxo-DHA, 7-oxo-DPA and 5-oxo-EPA and their hydroxy precursors is reported in human neutrophils stimulated with calcium ionophore and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Dietary EPA+DHA supplementation significantly increased the formation of 7-oxo-DHA and 5-oxo-EPA, with no significant modulation of arachidonic acid (AA) metabolite levels.
The endogenous detection of these electrophilic ω-3 fatty acid ketone derivatives supports the precept that the benefit of ω-3 PUFA-rich diets can be attributed to the generation of electrophilic oxygenated metabolites that transduce anti-inflammatory actions rather than the suppression of pro-inflammatory AA metabolites.
Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have immune regulating and anti-inflammatory effects. However, their role in allergic disease is unclear. Allergic diseases are immunologically heterogeneous, and we hypothesized that n-3 fatty acid composition in serum and breast milk may vary according to clinical manifestations. Further, animal studies have shown reduction of serum-PUFA levels during allergic inflammation.
To investigate fatty acid composition in breast milk and serum from women with different atopic disease manifestations. Secondly, to determine whether low PUFA levels reflected insufficient intakes.
Fatty acids were analysed in breast milk and serum of women with atopic eczema and respiratory allergy (n=16), only respiratory allergy (n=7), as well as healthy women (n=22). Dietary intake of foods expected to affect long-chain n-3 PUFA levels were estimated by food-frequency questionnaire. The fatty acid pattern was related to diagnostic group and intake of relevant food items using a multivariate pattern recognition method (partial least squares projections to latent structures and discriminant analysis).
Women with a combination of eczema and respiratory allergy had lower breast milk levels of several PUFAs (arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, and docosapentaenoic acid, DPA), and a lower ratio of long-chain n-3 PUFAs/n-6 PUFAs. Their PUFA levels differed not only from that of healthy women, but also from that of women with only respiratory allergy. The latter had a fatty acid pattern similar to that of healthy women. Despite low EPA, DHA and DPA levels women with eczema and respiratory allergy consumed no less fish than did healthy women.
Conclusion & Clinical Relevance
Our data suggest that reduced levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids in serum and breast milk characterize women with extensive allergic disease including eczema, and are not related to low fish intake. Consumption of PUFAs during the allergic process may explain these findings.
allergy; atopic eczema; atopy; breast milk; DHA; EPA; fatty acids
The high incidence of insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome in South Asians remains unexplained. I propose that a defect in the activity of Δ6 and Δ5 desaturases and consequent low plasma and tissue concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as γ-linolenic acid (GLA), dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and formation of their anti-inflammatory products prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), prostacyclin (PGI2), PGI3, lipoxins, resolvins, protectins, maresins and nitrolipids could be responsible for the high incidence of insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome and ischemic heart disease (IHD) in South Asians. This proposal is supported by the observation that South Asian Indians have lower plasma and tissue concentrations of GLA, DGLA, AA, EPA and DHA, the precursors of PGE1, PGI2, PGI3, lipoxins, resolvins, protectins, and nitrolipids, the endogenous molecules that prevent platelet aggregation, vasoconstriction, thrombus formation, leukocyte activation and possess anti-inflammatory action and thus, are capable of preventing the development of insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus and premature ischemic heart disease. Genetic predisposition, high carbohydrate intake, lack of exercise, tobacco use and low birth weight due to maternal malnutrition suppress the activity of Δ6 and Δ5 desaturases that leads to low plasma and tissue concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids and their products. This implies that adequate provision of polyunsaturated fatty acids and co-factors needed for their metabolism, and efforts to enhance the formation of their beneficial metabolites PGE1, PGI2, PGI3, lipoxins, resolvins, protectins, maresins and nitrolipids could form a novel approach in the prevention and management of these diseases in this high-risk population.
B10.RIII and B10.G mice were transferred from a diet of laboratory rodent chow to a standard diet in which all the fat (5% by weight) was supplied as either fish oil (17% eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], 12% docosahexaenoic acid [DHA], 0% arachidonic acid [AA], and 2% linoleic acid) or corn oil (0% EPA, 0% DHA, 0% AA, and 65% linoleic acid). The fatty acid composition of the macrophage phospholipids from mice on the chow diet was similar to that of mice on a corn oil diet. Mice fed the fish oil diet for only 1 wk showed substantial increases in macrophage phospholipid levels of the omega-3 fatty acids (of total fatty acid 4% was EPA, 10% docosapentaenoic acid [DPA], and 10% DHA), and decreases in omega-6 fatty acids (12% was AA, 2% docosatetraenoic acid [DTA], and 4% linoleic acid) compared to corn oil-fed mice (0% EPA, 0% DPA, 6% DHA, 20% AA, 9% DTA, and 8% linoleic acid). After 5 wk this difference between the fish oil-fed and corn oil-fed mice was even more pronounced. Further small changes occurred at 5-9 wk. We studied the prostaglandin (PG) and thromboxane (TX) profile of macrophages prepared from mice fed the two diets just before being immunized with collagen. Irrespective of diet, macrophages prepared from female mice and incubated for 24 h had significantly more PG and TX in the medium than similarly prepared macrophages from male mice. The increased percentage of EPA and decreased percentage of AA in the phospholipids of the macrophages prepared from the fish oil-fed mice was reflected in a reduction in the amount of PGE2 and PGI2 in the medium relative to identically incubated macrophages prepared from corn oil-fed mice. When this same fish oil diet was fed to B10.RIII mice for 26 d before immunization with type II collagen, the time of onset of arthritis was increased, and the incidence and severity of arthritis was reduced compared to arthritis induced in corn oil-fed mice. The females, especially those on the fish oil diet, tended to have less arthritis than the males. These alterations in the fatty acid pool available for PG and leukotriene synthesis suggest a pivotal role for the macrophage and PG in the immune and/or inflammatory response to type II collagen.