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Study helps explain omega-3 benefit in asthma

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

February 13 2017. An article appearing on February 9, 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation–Insight explains the role of omega 3 fatty acids as specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs) in asthma and reveals how the fatty acids are less effective when the disease is treated with corticosteroid drugs.

“Recently, it was discovered that omega-3-derived SPMs are key mediators that possess proresolving activities,” Nina Kim and colleagues write. “Evidence supports the hypothesis that asthma represents, at least in part, a failure to resolve chronic inflammation, with an imbalance between proinflammatory and proresolving mediators.

The research team compared B cells in blood collected from 17 asthma patients to those of healthy donors. They determined that, while inflammation mediators derived from the omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) lowered IgE (an antibody produced by B cells that plays a role in the inflammation that occurs in asthma), omega 3 was less effective among patients with severe asthma being treated with corticosteroids. Although the drugs are effective, it appears that they can, in some cases, interfere with the body’s natural ability to combat inflammation in asthma.

“In our study, we show that the DHA-derived mediators, 17-HDHA and RvD1, reduced spontaneous as well as stimulated IgE production in B cells from asthma patients with a broad spectrum of disease severity,” the authors write. “Our results suggest that specialized proresolving mediators are important potential therapeutics for most patients with allergic asthma. Further, our results highlight that immunosuppressive therapies like oral corticosteroids also suppress endogenous resolution pathways and suggest one method by which oral corticosteroids may actually exacerbate allergic diseases.”

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