Red Blood Cell Docosapentaenoic Acid (DPA n-3) is Inversely Associated with Triglycerides and C-reactive Protein (CRP) in Healthy Adults and Dose-Dependently Increases Following n-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation.Nutrients. 2015 Aug 04; 7(8):6390-404.N
The role of the long-chain omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in lipid metabolism and inflammation has been extensively studied; however, little is known about the relationship between docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5 n-3) and inflammation and triglycerides (TG). We evaluated whether n-3 DPA content of red blood cells (RBC) was associated with markers of inflammation (interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and C-reactive protein (CRP) and fasting TG prior to n-3 supplementation in two studies (Study 1: n = 115, aged 20-44 years, body mass index (BMI) 20-30 kg/m2, TG = 34-176 mg/dL; Study 2: n = 28, aged 22-65 years, BMI 24-37 kg/m2, TG = 141-339 mg/dL). We also characterized the dose-response effects of n-3 fatty acid supplementation on RBC n-3 DPA after five months of supplementation with fish oil (Study 1: 0, 300, 600, 900, and 1800 mg/day EPA + DHA) and eight weeks of prescription n-3 ethyl esters (Study 2: 0, 850, and 3400 mg/day EPA + DHA). In Study 1, RBC n-3 DPA was inversely correlated with CRP (R2 = 36%, p < 0.001) and with fasting TG (r = -0.30, p = 0.001). The latter finding was replicated in Study 2 (r = -0.33, p = 0.04). In both studies, n-3 supplementation significantly increased RBC n-3 DPA dose-dependently. Relative increases were greater for Study 1, with increases of 29%-61% vs. 14%-26% for Study 2. The associations between RBC n-3 DPA, CRP, and fasting TG may have important implications for the prevention of atherosclerosis and chronic inflammatory diseases and warrant further study.