Omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplementation in systemic lupus erythematosus
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The effect of dietary fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids--eicosapentenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] on several mechanisms involved in immune, inflammatory and atherosclerotic vascular disease was determined in 12 subjects with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and nephritis. These out-patients supplemented their usual diet for five weeks with daily doses of 6 g of fish oil, followed by a five-week washout period, then five weeks of 18 g of fish oil daily. The platelet EPA content rose six-fold with the lower and 15-fold with the higher dose of fish oil, and similar changes occurred to the platelet DHA content. The platelet arachidonic acid incorporation was reduced by 16 and 20%, respectively. These changes were associated with a reduction in collagen-induced platelet aggregation and an increase in red cell flexibility and a decrease in whole blood viscosity. Prostacyclin (PGI2) production was unaffected by the fish oil, but PGI3 formation correlated with its administration and dosage. Neutrophil leukotriene B4 release was reduced 78 and 42%, respectively, by the low and higher doses of fish oil. The higher fish oil dose induced a 38% decrease in triglyceride and a 39% reduction in VLDL cholesterol associated with a 28% rise in HDL, cholesterol. The fish oil had no effect on immune complex or anti-DNA antibody titer, albuminuria, intraplatelet serotonin or [14C]-serotonin release from platelets. We conclude that in patients with lupus nephritis, dietary supplementation with fish oil affects the mechanisms involved in inflammatory and atherosclerotic vascular disease.
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