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Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2002 Summer;3(2):145-9.

Omega-3 fatty acid lipid emulsion reduces LPS-stimulated macrophage TNF-alpha production.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, 840 South Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



Omega-3 (omega-3) fatty acids (FA), specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), attenuate cytokine-mediated inflammation. Currently, in the United States, there is no commercial source of omega-3 lipid for clinical use. A clinically used European lipid emulsion, Omegaven, has been shown to have beneficial antiinflammatory effects; however, the mechanisms of its action are not well defined. In the present work, this omega-3 FA emulsion has been evaluated in order to define its effects on TNF-alpha production in a model of LPS-stimulated macrophages.


RAW 264.7 cells (1 x 10(6) cell/well) were incubated with DMEM, Omegaven, or an isoenergetic omega-6 lipid emulsion, Lipovenos for 4 h. Cells were washed and then stimulated with LPS (1 microg/mL) or media alone for 3 h. Plate well supernatants were collected and assayed for TNF-alpha production by ELISA. Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA and post-hoc analyses; the significance was defined as p < 0.05.


Unstimulated RAW cell TNF-alpha production was similar in all groups and < 60 pg/mL. Lipovenos pretreatment did not alter TNF-alpha production from that of baseline compared to LPS-stimulated cells. Four-hour Omegaven pretreatment significantly reduced TNF-alpha production in LPS-stimulated cells, with a 46% reduction in TNF-alpha from baseline observed.


Four-hour omega-3 FA emulsion pretreatment significantly attenuated LPS-stimulated macrophage TNF-alpha production. These data support the contention that antiinflammatory effects of omega-3 FA occur at least in part through the inhibition of macrophage TNF-alpha production in response to endotoxin. Further studies to define the antiinflammatory mechanisms of omega-3 FA on macrophages are warranted. The availability of Omegaven as an experimental treatment and Lipovenos as an equivalent control will be useful for future studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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