Identification of potential serum biomarkers of inflammation and lipid modulation that are altered by fish oil supplementation in healthy volunteers

Proteomics. 2008 May;8(10):1965-74. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200700457.


Long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but mechanisms are not well understood. We used proteomics to identify human serum proteins that are altered by n-3 LCPUFA. Such proteins could identify pathways whereby they affect CHD. Eighty-one healthy volunteers entered a double blind randomised trial to receive 3.5 g of fish oil or 3.5 g of high oleic sunflower oil daily. Serum was collected before and after 6 wk of intervention. Serum was analysed by proteomics using 2-DE. Proteins that were differentially regulated were identified by MS. We also analysed serum apolipoprotein A1 (apo A1), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particle size and haptoglobin. Serum levels of apo A1, apo L1, zinc-alpha-2-glycoprotein, haptoglobin precursor, alpha-1-antitrypsin precursor, antithrombin III-like protein, serum amyloid P component and haemopexin were significantly downregulated (all p<0.05) by fish oil compared with high oleic sunflower oil supplementation. Fish oil supplementation caused a significant shift towards the larger, more cholesterol-rich HDL(2) particle. The alterations in serum proteins and HDL size imply that fish oil activates anti-inflammatory and lipid modulating mechanisms believed to impede the early onset of CHD. These proteins are potential diagnostic biomarkers to assess the mechanisms whereby fish oil protects against CHD in humans.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Apolipoprotein L1
  • Apolipoproteins / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Haptoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins / blood
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Zn-Alpha-2-Glycoprotein
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / blood


  • APOL1 protein, human
  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoprotein L1
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Biomarkers
  • Fish Oils
  • Haptoglobins
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • SERPINA1 protein, human
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins
  • Zn-Alpha-2-Glycoprotein
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin