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Reduction of pain episodes and prothrombotic activity in sickle cell disease by dietary n-3 fatty acids.
The effects of dietary n-3 fatty acids (n-3FAs) on the frequency of pain episodes and ex vivo blood tests of thrombosis have been evaluated in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) utilizing a double-blind, olive oil-controlled clinical trial. Dietary n-3FA therapy (0.1 g/kg/d) was provided as menhaden fish oil (0.25 g/kg/d) containing 12% eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and 18% docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Within 1 month dietary n-3FAs exchanged with n-6FAs in plasma and erythrocyte membrane phospholipids (p <0.01 in all cases). Treatment with dietary n-3FAs for 1 year reduced the frequency of pain episodes requiring presentation to the hospital from 7.8 events during the preceding year to 3.8 events/year (p <0.01; n = 5). By contrast, subjects receiving control dietary olive oil (n = 5) experienced 7.1 pain events/year, compared to 7.6 during the previous year (p >0.4). The reduction in episodes in n-3FA-treated subjects was also significant when compared to control subjects (p <0.01). Dietary n-3FA therapy was not associated with hemorrhagic, gastrointestinal or other adverse effects. Compared to 10 asymptomatic African-American controls, sickle cell subjects demonstrated significantly increased pretreatment: 1) flow cytometric expression of platelet membrane P-selectin (CD62p; p <0.01) and annexin V binding sites (p = 0.02); 2) plasma levels of platelet-specific secretory proteins platelet factor 4 (PF4) and beta-thromboglobulin (betaTG) (p <0.01 in both cases); 3) plasma products of thrombin generation, prothrombin fragment 1.2 (F1.2) and thrombin:antithrombin (TAT) complex (p <0.01 in both cases); and 4) plasma levels of thrombolytic products, D-dimer and plasmin:antiplasmin (PAP) complex (p <0.01 in both cases). Treatment with dietary n-3FAs concurrently decreased plasma levels of F1.2, D-dimer, and PAP (p <0.05, compared to olive oil controls), implying that the reduction in pain events was related to n-3FA-dependent inhibition of thrombosis. We conclude that dietary n-3FAs reduce the frequency of pain episodes perhaps by reducing prothrombotic activity in sickle cell disease.
Department of Hematology and Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Sickle Cell Center of Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta 30303, USA., , , ,
Anemia, Sickle Cell
Blood Cell Count
Blood Coagulation Factors
Fatty Acids, Omega-3
Pub Type(s)Clinical Trial
Randomized Controlled Trial