Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the previously observed changes in the fatty acid profile, as a result of DHA supplementation, could be maintained during longer study trials and to observe its effect on the clinical outcome of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
Method: A year-long double-blind placebo-controlled study was performed in DeltaF508 homozygous CF patients above the age of 6. Clinical data, including pulmonary function and number of infections, were collected. Blood for the determination of the fatty acid (FA) composition of serum phospholipid, vitamin E, liver enzymes, immunoglobulins, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and coagulation was drawn at the beginning and then every 6 months after the start of the study.
Results: Seventeen patients were included; one dropped out. The treatment group was supplemented with an algal DHA-rich oil and the control group with sunflower seed oil. There was no difference between the control and treatment groups for W/H%, caloric intake, FEV1% and FVC% at the start of the study and after 1 year of supplements. The phospholipid FA composition did not change in the control group. The treatment group had a significant increase in DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentration. A concomitant decrease of dihomo-gammalinolenic acid, arachidonic acid, 22:5 n-6 and Mead acid was observed. The laboratory results showed no changes in vitamin E level, liver enzymes, albumin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and IgG concentration in either the placebo or the intervention group.
Conclusion: Although DHA-rich oil shifted the serum phospholipid FAs to a less pro-inflammatory profile, no conclusive clinical improvement could be observed so far.