α-Linolenic acid (ALA) is an anti-inflammatory agent in inflammatory bowel disease.J Nutr Biochem. 2015 Dec; 26(12):1632-40.JN
Studies suggest that consumption of omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) plays a protective role in inflammatory bowel disease; however, the use of plant-derived oils rich in α-linolenic acid (ALA) has not been widely investigated. The aims of this study were to test the effects of two different sources of (n-3) PUFA, fish and plant-derived oils, in two animal models of experimental colitis and to determine whether the (n-3) PUFA-enriched diets could ameliorate the inflammatory status. Rats were fed diets rich in corn, fish or sage oil with or without vitamin A supplementation for 3weeks then colitis was induced by adding dextran sodium sulfate to the drinking water or by injecting 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid. We show that colitic rats fed the sage oil diets had a lower inflammatory response, improved histological repair and had less necrotic damage in the mucosa when compared to the corn and fish oil groups. Colonic damage and myeloperoxidase activity were significantly lower. Colonic mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory genes including interleukin IL-6, cyclooxygenase 2 and tumor necrosis factor α were markedly down-regulated in rats fed fish and sage oils compared to control. These results were supported by experiments in the human colonic epithelial cell line Caco-2, where ALA supplementation was shown to be effective in inhibiting inflammation induced by IL-1β by down-regulating mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory genes including IL-8, COX2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Taken together, these results suggest that plant-derived oil rich in ALA could ameliorate the inflammatory damage in colitis.