Aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids work together to fight inflammation

This shows key molecules (DHA, aspirin, AT-RvD3) and cells undergoing actions promoted by AT-RvD3 (i.e. macrophages phagocytosing apoptotic cells). Credit: Chemistry & Biology, Dalli et al.

Experts tout the health benefits of low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like flax seeds and salmon, but the detailed mechanisms involved in their effects are not fully known. Now researchers reporting in the February 21 issue of the Cell Press journal Chemistry & Biology show that aspirin helps trigger the production of molecules called resolvins that are naturally made by the body from omega-3 fatty acids. These resolvins shut off, or "resolve," the inflammation that underlies destructive conditions such as inflammatory lung disease, heart disease, and arthritis.

"In this report, we found that one resolvin, termed resolvin D3 from the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, persists longer at sites of inflammation than either resolvin D1 or resolvin D2 in the natural resolution of inflammation in mice," explains senior author Dr. Charles Serhan of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "This finding suggests that this late resolution phase resolvin D3 might display unique properties in fighting uncontrolled inflammation."

The researchers also confirmed that treatment triggered the production of a longer acting form of resolvin D3 through a different pathway. "Aspirin is able to modify an inflammatory enzyme to stop forming molecules that propagate inflammation and instead produce molecules from omega-3 , like resolvin D3, that help inflammation to end," explains coauthor Dr. Nicos Petasis of the University of Southern California.

The team went on to reveal detailed information about resolvin D3. "We were able to produce by chemical synthesis both resolvin D3 and aspirin-triggered resolvin D3 in pure form, which allowed us to establish their complete structures and biological activities," says Dr. Petasis. When administered to human cells, both of these resolvins demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory actions. When given to mice, the compounds also stimulated the resolution of inflammation in the body.

"We also identified the human receptor that is activated by resolvin D3, which is critical in understanding how resolvin D3 works in the body to resolve inflammation," says Dr. Serhan. "With this new information, investigators will now also be able to study the pro-resolving and anti-inflammatory actions of resolvin D3 in other systems." In addition, researchers will be interested in determining which -associated diseases might be treated with this newly identified resolvin.

More information: Chemistry & Biology, Dalli et al.: "Resolvin D3 and Aspirin-Triggered Resolvin D3 Are Potent Immunoresolvents." dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2012.11.010

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

23 hours ago

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

23 hours ago

Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight ...

Quality control for adult stem cell treatment

Feb 27, 2015

A team of European researchers has devised a strategy to ensure that adult epidermal stem cells are safe before they are used as treatments for patients. The approach involves a clonal strategy where stem cells are collected ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.