Current Atherosclerosis Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 357–358 | Cite as

Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Plaque Stabilization

  • William S. HarrisEmail author
Clinical Trial Report

Cawood AL, Ding R, Napper FL, et al.: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from highly concentrated n-3 fatty acid ethyl esters is incorporated into advanced atherosclerotic plaques and higher plaque EPA is associated with decreased plaque inflammation and increased stability. Atherosclerosis 2010 (in press).


•Of Importance.


Among the many potential mechanisms by which the marine omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) reduce risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) is via plaque stabilization, which may itself be secondary to reduced inflammation. Heretofore, the strongest support for this was derived from a single-center study by Thies et al. [1] in 2003 that reported pre-treatment (median of 42 days) of patients awaiting carotid endarterectomy with EPA and DHA (1.4 g/d from fish oil) reduced the apparent vulnerability of the plaque to rupture. This conclusion was based on the presence of thicker caps and fewer inflammatory cells in the...


Ethyl Ester Eicosapentaenoic Acid Acid Ethyl Ester Fatty Acid Ethyl Ester Plaque Morphology 
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Dr. Harris is friends with one of the authors (PC Calder) of the study that was reviewed here.


  1. 1.
    Thies F, Garry JM, Yaqoob P, et al.: Association of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with stability of atherosclerotic plaques: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2003, 361:477–485.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular Health Research Center, Sanford Research/USD and Sanford School of MedicineUniversity of South DakotaSioux FallsUSA

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