, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 93-103
Date: 20 Oct 2012

Eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic (DHA) Acid Differentially Modulate Rat Neutrophil Function In Vitro

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Abstract

Fish oils are used as therapeutic agents in chronic inflammatory diseases. The omega-3 fatty acids (FA) found in these oils are mainly eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oils are attributed to both omega-3 fatty acids. However, it is unknown whether such effects are due to either EPA or DHA. In this study, the effects of EPA and DHA on rat neutrophil function in vitro were compared. Both EPA and DHA increased the production of H2O2 when cells were stimulated or not with lipopolysaccharides (LPS). However, EPA was more potent than DHA in triggering an increase in superoxide release by cells in the basal condition or when stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) or zymosan. Only DHA increased the phagocytic capacity and fungicidal activity of neutrophils. Both FA increased the release of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in nonstimulated cells, but only EPA increased the production of cytokine-inducing neutrophil chemoattractant-2 (CINC-2) in the absence or presence of LPS, whereas production of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) was only increased by DHA in the presence of LPS. In addition, there was no alteration in the production of nitric oxide. In conclusion, we show herein that EPA and DHA can differently modulate aspects of the neutrophil response, which may be relevant for the development of therapies rich in one or other FA depending on the effect required.