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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Sep;48(9):4328-34.

Eicosapentaenoic acid is anti-inflammatory in preventing choroidal neovascularization in mice.

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Laboratory of Retinal Cell Biology, Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



To investigate the role of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the major omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), in the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV), together with underlying molecular mechanisms.


Six-week-old C57BL/6 mice were fed with laboratory chow with 5% EPA or the omega-6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA) for 4 weeks. Laser photocoagulation was performed to induce CNV, and the volume of CNV tissue was evaluated by volumetric measurements. The expression and production of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and interleukin (IL)-6 in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-choroid in vivo, and stimulated b-End3 endothelial cells and RAW264.7 macrophages in vitro were evaluated by RT-PCR and ELISA. Fatty acid composition in the serum and the RPE-choroid was analyzed by gas chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. Serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, VEGF, MCP-1, and soluble ICAM-1 were examined by ELISA.


The CNV volume in EPA-fed animals was significantly suppressed compared with that in control mice, whereas the LA-rich diet did not affect CNV. The mRNA expression and protein levels of ICAM-1, MCP-1, VEGF, and IL-6 after CNV induction were significantly reduced in EPA-supplemented mice. In vitro, EPA application led to significant inhibition of mRNA and protein levels of ICAM-1 and MCP-1 in endothelial cells and VEGF and IL-6 in macrophages. EPA-fed mice exhibited significantly higher levels of EPA and lower levels of the omega-6 PUFA arachidonic acid in the serum and the RPE-choroid than control animals. EPA supplementation also led to significant reduction of serum levels of IL-6 and CRP after CNV induction.


The present study demonstrates for the first time that an EPA-rich diet results in significant suppression of CNV and CNV-related inflammatory molecules in vivo and in vitro. These results suggest that frequent consumption of omega-3 PUFAs may prevent CNV and lower the risk of blindness due to age-related macular degeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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