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      Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases

      Journal of the American College of Nutrition

      Informa UK Limited

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          Abstract

          Among the fatty acids, it is the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which possess the most potent immunomodulatory activities, and among the omega-3 PUFA, those from fish oil-eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)--are more biologically potent than alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Some of the effects of omega-3 PUFA are brought about by modulation of the amount and types of eicosanoids made, and other effects are elicited by eicosanoid-independent mechanisms, including actions upon intracellular signaling pathways, transcription factor activity and gene expression. Animal experiments and clinical intervention studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, might be useful in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Coronary heart disease, major depression, aging and cancer are characterized by an increased level of interleukin 1 (IL-1), a proinflammatory cytokine. Similarly, arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and lupus erythematosis are autoimmune diseases characterized by a high level of IL-1 and the proinflammatory leukotriene LTB(4) produced by omega-6 fatty acids. There have been a number of clinical trials assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils in several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches. Many of the placebo-controlled trials of fish oil in chronic inflammatory diseases reveal significant benefit, including decreased disease activity and a lowered use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

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          Most cited references 77

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              The effect of novel polymorphisms in the interleukin-6 (IL-6) gene on IL-6 transcription and plasma IL-6 levels, and an association with systemic-onset juvenile chronic arthritis.

              During active disease, patients with systemic-onset juvenile chronic arthritis (S-JCA) demonstrate a rise and fall in serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) that parallels the classic quotidian fever. To investigate the possibility that this cytokine profile results from a difference in the control of IL-6 expression, we examined the 5' flanking region of the IL-6 gene for polymorphisms. A G/C polymorphism was detected at position -174. In a group of 383 healthy men and women from a general practice in North London, the frequency of the C allele was 0.403 (95% confidence interval 0.37-0.44). In comparison, 92 patients with S-JCA had a different overall genotype frequency, especially those with onset of disease at < 5 yr of age. This was mainly due to the statistically significant lower frequency of the CC genotype in this subgroup. When comparing constructs of the 5' flanking region (-550-+61 bp) in a luciferase reporter vector transiently transfected into HeLa cells, the -174C construct showed 0.624+/-0.15-fold lower expression than the -174G construct. After stimulation with LPS or IL-1, expression from the -174C construct did not significantly change after 24 h, whereas expression from the -174G construct increased by 2.35+/-0.10- and 3.60+/-0.26-fold, respectively, compared with the unstimulated level. Plasma levels of IL-6 were also measured in 102 of the healthy subjects, and the C allele was found to be associated with significantly lower levels of plasma IL-6. These results suggest that there is a genetically determined difference in the degree of the IL-6 response to stressful stimuli between individuals. The reduced frequency of the potentially protective CC genotype in young S-JCA patients may contribute to its pathogenesis. Similarly the individual's IL-6 genotype may be highly relevant in other conditions where IL-6 has been implicated, such as atherosclerosis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of the American College of Nutrition
                Journal of the American College of Nutrition
                Informa UK Limited
                0731-5724
                1541-1087
                December 2002
                December 2002
                : 21
                : 6
                : 495-505
                10.1080/07315724.2002.10719248
                12480795
                © 2002

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