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Prevention of Endothelial Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Disease by n-3 Fatty Acids-Inhibiting Action on Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

[ Vol. 26 , Issue. 30 ]


Kazuo Yamagata*   Pages 3652 - 3666 ( 15 )


Background: Prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials have shown the protective effect of n-3 fatty acids against cardiovascular disease (CVD). The effect of n-3 fatty acids on vascular endothelial cells indicates their possible role in CVD prevention.

Objective: Here, we describe the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on endothelial dysfunction-caused by inflammation and oxidative stress-and their role in the development of CVD.

Methods: We reviewed epidemiological studies done on n-3 fatty acids in CVD. The effect of DHA and EPA on vascular endothelial cells was examined with regard to changes in various markers, such as arteriosclerosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress, using cell and animal models.

Results: Epidemiological studies revealed that dietary intake of EPA and DHA was associated with a reduced risk of various CVDs. EPA and DHA inhibited various events involved in arteriosclerosis development by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation associated with endothelial cell damage. In particular, EPA and DHA prevented endothelial cell dysfunction mediated by inflammatory responses and oxidative stress induced by events related to CVD. DHA and EPA also increased eNOS activity and induced nitric oxide production.

Conclusion: The effects of DHA and EPA on vascular endothelial cell damage and dysfunction may involve the induction of nitric oxide, in addition to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. n-3 fatty acids inhibit endothelial dysfunction and prevent arteriosclerosis. Therefore, the intake of n-3 fatty acids may prevent CVDs, like myocardial infarction and stroke.


DHA, EPA, endothelial cells, reactive oxygen species, inflammation, stroke, myocardial infarction.


College of Bioresource Science, Nihon University (UNBS), Kanagawa

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