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Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Mar;141(3):272-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.10.010. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

Pharmacology and therapeutics of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in chronic inflammatory disease.

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  • 1Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, The University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
  • 2Human Development & Health Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK.
  • 3Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, The University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK. Electronic address:


Omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have well documented anti-inflammatory properties, and consequently therapeutic potential in chronic inflammatory diseases. Here we discuss the effects of n-3 PUFAs on various inflammatory pathways and how this leads to alterations in the function of inflammatory cells, most importantly endothelial cells and leukocytes. Strong evidence indicates n-3 PUFAs are beneficial as a dietary supplement in certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis; however for other conditions such as asthma, the data are less robust. A clearer understanding of the pharmacology of n-3 PUFAs will help to establish targets to modulate chronic inflammatory diseases.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


AA; ALA; Arachidonic acid; CD; COX; CVD; Crohn's disease; DHA; Docosahexaenoic acid; EC; EPA; Eicosanoid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; FFA; IBD; ICAM-1; IL; Inflammation; LA; LOX; LT; LX; NPD; Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; PBMC; PD; PG; PI; RA; RCT; Resolvin; Rv; SPM; TNF; UC; VCAM-1; alpha-linolenic acid; cardiovascular disease; cyclooxygensae; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; endothelial cells; free fatty acids; inflammatory bowel diseases; intercellular adhesion molecule-1; interleukin; leukotrienes; linoleic acid; lipoxin; lipoxygenase; neuroprotectin; n−3 PUFAs; omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; peripheral blood mononuclear cell; phosphatidylinositol; prostaglandin; protectin; randomised controlled trial; resolvin; rheumatoid arthritis; specialised pro-resolving mediators; tumour necrosis factor; ulcerative colitis; vascular cell adhesion molecule-1

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