Long-chain n-3 PUFA (LCn-3PUFA) including DHA and EPA, are known to decrease inflammation by inhibiting arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism to eicosanoids, decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reducing immune cell function. The aim of this study was to determine if EPA and DHA reduced the release of inflammatory mediators from airway epithelial cells infected with rhinovirus (RV). Airway epithelial cells (Calu-3) were incubated with EPA, DHA and AA for 24 h, followed by rhinovirus infection for 48 h. IL-6, IL-8 and interferon-gamma-induced protein-10 (IP-10) released by cells were measured using ELISA. Viral replication was measured by serial titration assays. The fatty acid content of cells was analysed using GC. Cellular viability was determined by visual inspection of cells and lactate dehydrogenase release. DHA (400 microm) resulted in a significant 16% reduction in IL-6 release after RV-43 infection, 29% reduction in IL-6 release after RV-1B infection, 28% reduction in IP-10 release after RV-43 infection and 23 % reduction in IP-10 release after RV-1B infection. Cellular DHA content negatively correlated with IL-6 and IP-10 release. None of the fatty acids significantly modified rhinovirus replication. DHA supplementation resulted in increased cellular content of DHA at the cost of AA, which may explain the decreased inflammatory response of cells. EPA and AA did not change the release of inflammatory biomarkers significantly. It is concluded that DHA has a potential role in suppressing RV-induced airway inflammation.