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Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Mar;183:177-204. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2017.10.016. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Therapeutic potential of omega-3 fatty acid-derived epoxyeicosanoids in cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

Author information

1
Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: schunck@mdc-berlin.de.
2
OMEICOS Therapeutics GmbH, Berlin, Germany.
3
Department of Gastroenterology, Diabetes, Oncology and Rheumatology, Ruppiner Kliniken, Brandenburg Medical School, Neuruppin, Germany; Lipid Clinic, Experimental and Clinical Research Centre (ECRC), Charité University Medicine and Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Numerous benefits have been attributed to dietary long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs), including protection against cardiac arrhythmia, triglyceride-lowering, amelioration of inflammatory, and neurodegenerative disorders. This review covers recent findings indicating that a variety of these beneficial effects are mediated by "omega-3 epoxyeicosanoids", a class of novel n-3 LC-PUFA-derived lipid mediators, which are generated via the cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenase pathway. CYP enzymes, previously identified as arachidonic acid (20:4n-6; AA) epoxygenases, accept eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3; EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3; DHA), the major fish oil n-3 LC-PUFAs, as efficient alternative substrates. In humans and rodents, dietary EPA/DHA supplementation causes a profound shift of the endogenous CYP-eicosanoid profile from AA- to EPA- and DHA-derived metabolites, increasing, in particular, the plasma and tissue levels of 17,18-epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid (17,18-EEQ) and 19,20-epoxydocosapentaenoic acid (19,20-EDP). Based on preclinical studies, these omega-3 epoxyeicosanoids display cardioprotective, vasodilatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic properties that contribute to the beneficial effects of n-3 LC-PUFAs in diverse disease conditions ranging from cardiac disease, bronchial disorders, and intraocular neovascularization, to allergic intestinal inflammation and inflammatory pain. Increasing evidence also suggests that background nutrition as well as genetic and disease state-related factors could limit the response to EPA/DHA-supplementation by reducing the formation and/or enhancing the degradation of omega-3 epoxyeicosanoids. Recently, metabolically robust synthetic analogs mimicking the biological activities of 17,18-EEQ have been developed. These drug candidates may overcome limitations of dietary EPA/DHA supplementation and provide novel options for the treatment of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Bioactive lipid mediators; Cardiovascular disease; Cytochrome P450 enzymes; Omega-3 fatty acids

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