, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 93–103 | Cite as

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

  • V. A. Paschoal
  • M. A. R. Vinolo
  • A. R. Crisma
  • J. Magdalon
  • R. Curi
Original Article


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.


n-3 Fatty acids Reactive oxygen species Cytokines CINC-2 TNF-α IL-1β Phagocytosis Fungicidal activity 



Analysis of variance


Cytokine-inducing neutrophil chemoattractant-2


Docosahexaenoic acid




Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Fatty acid


Fetal bovine serum




4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid


Horseradish peroxidase


Interleukin-1 beta




Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate


Nucleotide-binding protein oligomerization domain


Phosphate-buffered saline


Phorbol myristate acetate


Polyunsaturated fatty acid


Reactive nitrogen species


Reactive oxygen species


Roswell park memorial institute


Toll-like receptor


Tumor necrosis factor-α

Supplementary material

11745_2012_3726_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (210 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 209 kb)
11745_2012_3726_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (210 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 209 kb)


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. A. Paschoal
    • 1
  • M. A. R. Vinolo
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. R. Crisma
    • 1
  • J. Magdalon
    • 1
  • R. Curi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, Evolution and Bioagents, Institute of BiologyUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil

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