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Eur J Clin Invest. 1998 Aug;28(8):629-35.

Effects of omega-3 fatty acids and/or antioxidants on endothelial cell markers.

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Department of Medicine, UllevÄl University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



Increased expression of cell adhesion molecules and increased procoagulant activity of the vascular endothelium have been postulated to characterize dysfunctional endothelium. The cellular effects of n-3 fatty acids (n-3 FAs) and antioxidants are still not clarified.


In a randomized, factorial two-by-two design study, we have investigated 41 male smokers with hyperlipidaemia before and after 6 weeks of supplementation with either n-3 FAs (4.8 g daily) or placebo with the addition of antioxidants (150 mg of vitamin C, 75 mg of vitamin E and 15 mg of beta-carotene daily) or placebo with regard to the effects on some endothelial cell markers: thrombomodulin (sTM), von Willebrand factor (vWF), tissue plasminogen activator antigen (tPAag) and soluble forms of the cell adhesion molecules E-selectin, P-selectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1).


In the n-3 FA group, significant reductions in the plasma levels of vWF (P = 0.034) and sTM (P < 0.001) were demonstrated compared with placebo, whereas increased levels were found for E-selectin (P = 0.001) and VCAM-1 (P = 0.010). In the antioxidant group, no differences in changes were noted for any of the variables.


The reduction in the levels of sTM and vWF with n-3 FA supplementation could indicate an improvement with regard to the haemostatic markers of endothelial dysfunction, whereas the simultaneous increase in the soluble forms of E-selectin and VCAM-1 may suggest an adverse effect on the inflammatory system. The antioxidants seem to be neutral in their effect on these endothelial cell markers in our study population of smokers. The interpretation of the soluble forms of these molecules are, however, still debatable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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