An update on the role of omega-3 fatty acids on inflammatory and degenerative diseases

J Physiol Biochem. 2015 Jun;71(2):341-9. doi: 10.1007/s13105-015-0395-y. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


Inflammation is involved in the pathophysiology of many chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and neurodegenerative diseases. Several studies have evidenced important anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs). This review illustrates current knowledge about the efficacy of n-3 LC-PUFAs (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), particularly) in preventing and/or treating several chronic inflammatory conditions (inflammatory bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis) as well as their potential benefits on neurodegenerative diseases. It is well established that n-3 LC-PUFAs are substrates for synthesis of novel series of lipid mediators (e.g., resolvins, protectins, and maresins) with potent anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving properties, which have been proposed to partly mediate the protective and beneficial actions of n-3 LC-PUFAs. Here, we briefly summarize current knowledge from preclinical studies analyzing the actions of EPA- and DHA-derived resolvins and protectins on pathophysiological models of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / prevention & control
  • CD59 Antigens / metabolism
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / immunology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / prevention & control
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*


  • CD59 Antigens
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid