Public Release:  Study further defines potential role of fish-based fatty acids in resolving, preventing asthma

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

WHAT: In an ongoing effort to determine the anti-inflammatory value of diets rich in some types of fish, scientists studying asthma and allergic reactions have found that a molecule produced by the body from omega-3 fatty acids helps resolve and prevent respiratory distress in laboratory mice. The research, supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, was led by a research team at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Resolvin E1 (RvE1) is a metabolic product of an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies. It is made by the body in response to the onset of inflammation. This study identified RvE1 as having a key role in both dampening the development of airway inflammation and promoting its resolution in mice, in part by dampening innate immune signals that trigger inflammation. Other studies have indicated that increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower asthma prevalence in people, but the mechanisms to support that observation are poorly understood. This study provides scientists an opportunity to focus on the role of RvE1 as a potential therapeutic candidate.

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ARTICLE: O Haworth et al. Resolvin E1 regulates interleukin-23, interferon-y and lipoxin A4 to promote resolution of allergic airway inflammation. Nature Immunology DOI 10.1038/ni.1627

WHO: Alkis Togias, M.D., Chief of the Asthma and Inflammation Section, NIAID Allergy and Inflammation Branch, is available to comment on this article.

CONTACT: To schedule interviews, contact the NIAID Office of Communications, 301-402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

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