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Gastroenterology. 1992 Jun;102(6):1859-66.

Effect of ingestion of eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester on carrageenan-induced colitis in guinea pigs.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Chiba University, Japan.


The effect of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester (EPA-E) on colitis was investigated using a guinea pig model. The technique for preparing a degraded carrageenan with a molecular weight of about 30,000 from commercial iota-carrageenan was first refined. When this degraded carrageenan was fed to guinea pigs, localized ulcerations occurred in the cecum with infiltration of numerous mononuclear phagocytes. Oral administration of 300 of EPA-E for 3 weeks significantly prevented the development of colitis. The amounts of prostaglandin E2, thromboxane B2, and leukotriene B4 released from the cecal mucosa were also measured. The release of prostaglandin E2 and thromboxane B2 was significantly decreased in the animals fed EPA-E compared with those given olive oil or a vehicle alone. In addition, there was a positive correlation between the amounts of these eicosanoids and the degree of ulcer formation. However, there was no difference in the amount of leukotriene B4 among various experimental groups of animals. Furthermore, EPA-E feeding induced a significant decrease in the level of arachidonic acid and a significant increase in that of EPA in peritoneal macrophages. These results suggest that EPA has a prophylactic effect on the development of carrageenan-induced colitis, which may be ascribed in part to reduced eicosanoid production.

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