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J Nutr Biochem. 2011 Apr;22(4):360-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.03.003. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Cox-2 expression, PGE(2) and cytokines production are inhibited by endogenously synthesized n-3 PUFAs in inflamed colon of fat-1 mice.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10065, USA.


There is great interest in the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in promoting (n-6 class) or inhibiting (n-3 class) inflammation. Mammalian cells are devoid of desaturase that converts n-6 to n-3 PUFAs. Consequently, essential n-3 fatty acids must be supplied with the diet. We have studied the effect of endogenously produced n-3 PUFAs on colitis development in fat-1 transgenic mice carrying the Caenorhabditis elegans fat-1 gene encoding n-3 desaturase. Colonic cell lipid profile was measured by capillary gas chromatography in fat-1 and wild-type (WT) littermates fed standard diet supplemented with 10% (w/w) safflower oil rich (76%) in n-6 polyunsaturated linoleic acid (LA). Experimental colitis was induced by administrating 3% dextran sodium sulphate (DSS). Colitis was scored by histopatological analysis. Cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) expression was evaluated by real time polymerase chain reaction. Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) levels and cytokine production were determined by enzyme and microsphere-based immunoassays, respectively. The n-6/n-3 PUFA ratios in colonic cells of fat-1 mice were markedly lower (9.83±2.62) compared to WT (54.5±9.24, P<.001). Results also showed an attenuation of colonic acute and chronic inflammation in fat-1 mice with significant decreases in PGE(2) production (P<.01) and Cox-2 expression (P<.01). High levels of colitis-induced proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin (IL)-18, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, monocytes chemotactic proteins 1, 2 and 3 (MCP 1,2,3), matrix metalloproteinase 9 and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) were down-regulated in DSS acutely and chronically treated fat-1 mice. The expression of fat-1 gene in the colon was associated with endogenous n-3 PUFAs production, decreased Cox-2 expression, increased PGE(2) and cytokine production.

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