Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into how omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation also hints at novel disease treatments

Date:
May 3, 2010
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
Scientists went on a molecular fishing trip and netted a catch of new mediators that not only can explain how omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, but also hint at novel treatments for a host of diseases linked to inflammatory processes.

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine went on a molecular fishing trip and netted a catch of new mediators that not only can explain how omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, but also hint at novel treatments for a host of diseases linked to inflammatory processes. Their findings were published in the online version of Nature Chemical Biology.

Related Articles


There is strong evidence that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as some fish, plant-derived oils and nuts, or taking omega-3s as a dietary supplement reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of illness and death from cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases, said Bruce A. Freeman, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Pitt School of Medicine, and one of the study's senior authors.

"What has been a provocative question for people familiar with these impressive clinical actions is how omega-3 fatty acids actually induce such beneficial pharmacological effects," he said. "This study has given us fresh and revealing perspective into that process."

In this study, also led by Pitt assistant professor Francisco J. Schopfer, Ph.D., the researchers examined metabolic byproducts of omega-3 fatty acids that are produced by activated macrophages, a type of immune cell that is always present in inflamed tissue, and discovered previously unknown biochemical mediators of inflammation.

Using a small molecule called beta-mercaptoethanol (BME) as a reactive bait, Chiara Cipollina, Ph.D., one of the study's lead authors and a post-doctoral student from Palermo, Italy's Ri.MED Foundation, "hooked" several derivatives of omega-3 fatty acids that were produced by immune cells. These derivatives were chemically modified to become electrophilic fatty acid oxidation products (EFOX), meaning they are attracted to electrons and therefore react with critical molecular targets in many different cell types.

By interacting with certain protein residues that have electrons available for chemical binding, these derivatives stimulate changes in cellular protein function and the genetic expression patterns of cells, resulting in a broad range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses.

The research team found that an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is the molecular target of common drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, mediates the transformation of omega-3 fatty acids into EFOX. Notably, cellular EFOX concentrations were significantly increased in the presence of aspirin, suggesting another mechanism for that drug's beneficial effects.

"There is a lot of evidence that supports minimizing inflammation as a fundamental therapy for many diseases," Dr. Freeman said. "Our new insights help explain in part the multitude of beneficial actions observed for both omega-3 fatty acids and aspirin, and the discovery of this new class of omega-3 fatty acid-derived anti-inflammatory mediators could point drug development activities in new and fruitful directions."

For example, drugs that, like aspirin, enhance the production of EFOX could be of value, or new agents might be synthesized that are able to induce anti-inflammatory signals that are similar to those induced by EFOX, he explained. Drs. Freeman and Schopfer and their drug discovery team now are working on some of these approaches.

The research team also included co-lead author Alison L. Groeger, Ph.D., Marsha P. Cole, Ph.D., Steven R. Woodcock, Ph.D., and Gustavo Bonacci, Ph.D., all of the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Co-authors Tanja K. Rudolph, M.D., and Volker Rudolph, M.D., have since returned to their positions at the University Heart Center, Hamburg, Germany.

The study was funded by start-up support from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Diabetes Association, and the Ri.MED Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alison L Groeger, Chiara Cipollina, Marsha P Cole, Steven R Woodcock, Gustavo Bonacci, Tanja K Rudolph, Volker Rudolph, Bruce A Freeman & Francisco J Schopfer. Cyclooxygenase-2 generates anti-inflammatory mediators from omega-3 fatty acids. Nature Chemical Biology, May 2, 2010 DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.367

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "New insights into how omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation also hints at novel disease treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502173503.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2010, May 3). New insights into how omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation also hints at novel disease treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502173503.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "New insights into how omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation also hints at novel disease treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502173503.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins