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High Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Colitis

Mouse study suggests that they may help prevent muscosal inflammation and injury

TUESDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of omega-3 fatty acids may protect the colon against inflammation associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the results of an animal study published July 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Jing X. Kang, M.D., Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues studied mice that were genetically engineered to have high tissue levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA).

In mice exposed to dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis, the researchers found significantly less colon inflammation and tissue injury in the genetically engineered mice than in normal mice. They also found that the genetically engineered mice produced increased amounts of anti-inflammatory molecules derived from omega-3 fatty acids.

"In short, the present results demonstrate that colon tissue with an increased n-3 PUFA status generates higher levels of bioactive n-3 PUFA-derived lipid mediators (resolvins and protectins), which may, on one hand, suppress the inflammatory response and, on the other hand, enhance mucoprotection (defense of intestinal mucosa) and is thereby protected against inflammation and injury," the authors conclude.

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