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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1993 Jun;47(6):431-6.

No effect of human serum and erythrocytes enriched in n-3 fatty acids by oral intake on Plasmodium falciparum blood stage parasites in vitro.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), Copenhagen, Denmark.


To examine the effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) on the erythrocytic growth of Plasmodium falciparum, serum and erythrocytes were separated from blood of a healthy donor before and after he had taken fish oil capsules for 8 days. Such intake supplied an amount of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) of 3.5 g/d and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) of 2.5 g/d and 24 mg/d of total tocopherol. Post-intake fish oil serum (post-s) and erythrocytes (post-e) were tested in vitro for inhibitory activity against blood stages of P. falciparum compared with pre-intake serum (pre-s) and pre-intake erythrocyte (pre-e). Also the effect of EPA and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) on the erythrocytic growth of P. falciparum was tested using in vitro assays. The results show that both post-s and post-e had no antimalarial activity on P. falciparum. No differential antimalarial effect was observed for 20:5n-3 compared with 20:4n-6, which at high concentrations (> 40 microM) had an anti-schizont-growth effect.

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