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Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;21(6):451-9.

Colonic anti-inflammatory mechanisms of conjugated linoleic acid.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a mixture of positional (e.g. 7,9; 9,11; 10,12; 11,13) and geometric (cis or trans) isomers of octadecadienoic acid. This compound was first shown to prevent mammary carcinogenesis in murine models. Later investigations uncovered a number of additional health benefits, including decreasing atherosclerosis and inflammation while enhancing immune function. The mechanisms of action underlying these biological properties are not clearly understood. The aim of this review is to highlight recent advances in CLA research related to experimental inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, two possible mechanisms of action (i.e. endoplasmic and nuclear) were discussed in detail in the context of enteric inflammatory disorders. Conjugated linoleic acid was first implicated in down-regulating the generation of inducible eicosanoids (i.e. PGE(2) and LTB(4)) involved in early micro-inflammatory events (endoplasmic). More recently, CLA has been shown to modulate the expression of genes regulated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs; nuclear). In pigs, prolonged dietary CLA treatment stimulated the expression of PPAR-gamma in the muscle. Thus, evidence supporting both mechanistic theories of CLA acting through eicosanoid synthesis and PPAR activity is available. The further understanding of the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of CLA may yield novel nutritional therapies for enteric inflammation.

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