Furan fatty acid as an anti-inflammatory component from the green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 18;108(42):17533-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110577108. Epub 2011 Oct 4.


A lipid extract of Perna canaliculus (New Zealand green-lipped mussel) has reportedly displayed anti-inflammatory effects in animal models and in human controlled studies. However, the anti-inflammatory lipid components have not been investigated in detail due to the instability of the lipid extract, which has made the identification of the distinct active components a formidable task. Considering the instability of the active component, we carefully fractionated a lipid extract of Perna canaliculus (Lyprinol) and detected furan fatty acids (F-acids). These naturally but rarely detected fatty acids show potent radical-scavenging ability and are essential constituents of plants and algae. Based on these data, it has been proposed that F-acids could be potential antioxidants, which may contribute to the protective properties of fish and fish oil diets against chronic inflammatory diseases. However, to date, in vivo data to support the hypothesis have not been obtained, presumably due to the limited availability of F-acids. To confirm the in vivo anti-inflammatory effect of F-acids in comparison with that of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), we developed a semisynthetic preparation and examined its anti-inflammatory activity in a rat model of adjuvant-induced arthritis. Indeed, the F-acid ethyl ester exhibited more potent anti-inflammatory activity than that of the EPA ethyl ester. We report on the in vivo activity of F-acids, confirming that the lipid extract of the green-lipped mussel includes an unstable fatty acid that is more effective than EPA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / isolation & purification
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Furans / chemistry
  • Furans / isolation & purification
  • Furans / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Male
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oncorhynchus keta / metabolism
  • Perna / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Testis / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Fatty Acids
  • Furans
  • Lipids
  • lyprinol