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Lancet. 1978 Jul 15;2(8081):117-9.

Eicosapentaenoic acid and prevention of thrombosis and atherosclerosis?


Unlike arachidonic acid (eicosatetraenoic acid, C20:4omega-6, A.A.), eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5omega-3, E.P.A.) does not induce platelet aggregation in human platelet-rich plasma (P.R.P.), probably because of the formation of thromboxane A3 (T.X.A3) which does not have platelet aggregating properties. Moreover, E.P.A., like A.A., can be utilised by the vessel wall to make an anti-aggregating substance, probably a delta17-prostacyclin (P.G.I3). This finding suggests that, in vivo, high levels of E.P.A. and low levels of A.A. could lead to an antithrombotic state in which an active P.G.I3 and a non-active T.X.A3 are formed. Eskimos have high levels of E.P.A. and low levels of A.A. and they also have a low incidence of myocardial infarction and a tendency to bleed. It is possible that dietary enrichment with E.P.A. will protect against thrombosis.

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