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Pharmacol Res. 2011 May;63(5):377-82. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

Fish oil concentrate delays sensitivity to thermal nociception in mice.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, UTHSCSA, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


Fish oil has been used to alleviate pain associated with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-inflammatory property of fish oil is attributed to the n-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. Contrarily, vegetable oils such as safflower oil are rich in n-6 fatty acids which are considered to be mediators of inflammation. This study investigates the effect of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids rich oils as dietary supplements on the thermally induced pain sensitivity in healthy mice. C57Bl/6J mice were fed diet containing regular fish oil, concentrated fish oil formulation (CFO) and safflower oil (SO) for 6 months. Pain sensitivity was measured by Plantar test and was correlated to the expression of acid sensing ion channels (ASICs), transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and c-fos in dorsal root ganglion cells. Significant delay in sensitivity to thermal nociception was observed in mice fed CFO compared to mice fed SO (p<0.05). A significant diminution in expression of ion channels such as ASIC1a (64%), ASIC13 (37%) and TRPV1 (56%) coupled with reduced expression of c-fos, a marker of neuronal activation, was observed in the dorsal root ganglion cells of mice fed CFO compared to that fed SO. In conclusion, we describe here the potential of fish oil supplement in reducing sensitivity to thermal nociception in normal mice.

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