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J Biol Chem. 1984 Jun 25;259(12):7615-21.

The effect of eicosapentaenoic acid on leukotriene B production by human neutrophils.


Eicosapentaenoic acid, which is a major fatty acid in fish oil, previously has been shown to competitively inhibit the cyclooxygenase-catalyzed metabolism of arachidonic acid in platelets. In the present study the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid on the production of leukotriene B via the lipoxygenase pathway in human neutrophils was examined. Eicosapentaenoate was incorporated into complex lipids of neutrophils at the same rate as arachidonate; release of the two homologous fatty acids in response to calcium ionophore A23187 was equivalent and both fatty acids were metabolized to a leukotriene B. The products derived from eicosapentaenoic acid were identified as leukotriene B5 and its stereoisomers. Eicosapentaenoate was a less favorable substrate for leukotriene B5 synthesis (94 ng/10(7) cells/5 min at 20 microM exogenous fatty acid) than arachidonate was for leukotriene B4 (401 ng under the same conditions). However, eicosapentaenoate or an oxygenated product inhibited arachidonate metabolism since at equimolar concentrations of eicosapentaenoate and arachidonate leukotriene B4 production was decreased by 68%. The inhibitory effect occurred at the level of leukotriene A hydrolase. The biological activity of eicosapentaenoate -derived products was tested; leukotriene B5 was found to have only approximately 10% of the potency of leukotriene B4 in inducing the aggregation of neutrophils, and the stereoisomers of leukotriene B5 were inactive. These data suggest that diets enriched in eicosapentaenoic acid affect neutrophils by decreasing the quantity of leukotriene B and by the production of a less potent leukotriene.

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