Salmon consumption by pregnant women reduces ex vivo umbilical cord endothelial cell activation

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec;94(6):1418-25. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.016592. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Background: In vitro exposure of endothelial cells (ECs) to n-3 (omega-3) long-chain PUFAs (LCPUFAs) reduces cell adhesion molecule (CAM) expression. However, to our knowledge, no previous human studies have examined the influence of an altered diet on CAM expression.

Objective: We assessed whether salmon (rich in n-3 LCPUFAs) consumption twice a week during pregnancy affected offspring umbilical vein EC CAM expression.

Design: Women were randomly assigned to maintain their habitual diets or to consume 2 portions of salmon per week during pregnancy months 4-9. ECs were isolated from umbilical cord veins collected at birth and cultured. The cell surface expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) was assessed by flow cytometry after the culture of ECs in the presence and absence of bacterial LPS for 24 h. Cytokine and growth factor concentrations in culture supernatant fluid were measured by using a multiplex assay.

Results: LPS increased the expression of VCAM-1 and the production of several cytokines and growth factors. The level of ICAM-1 expression per cell [ie, the median fluorescence intensity (MFI)] was increased by LPS stimulation in the control group (16.9 ± 2.4 compared with 135.3 ± 20.2; P < 0.001) and to a lesser extent in the salmon group (14.1 ± 3.8 compared with 65.8 ± 22.4; P = 0.037). The ICAM-1 MFI in the salmon group after LPS stimulation was lower than in the control group (P = 0.006).

Conclusion: Increased dietary salmon intake in pregnancy dampens offspring EC activation, which implicates a role for n-3 LCPUFAs in the suppression of inflammatory processes in humans. This trial was registered at as NCT00801502.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Pregnancy
  • Salmon*
  • Seafood*
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cytokines
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1

Associated data