Omega-3 Fatty Acids Modulate TRPV4 Function through Plasma Membrane Remodeling

Cell Rep. 2017 Oct 3;21(1):246-258. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.09.029.


Dietary consumption of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), present in fish oils, is known to improve the vascular response, but their molecular targets remain largely unknown. Activation of the TRPV4 channel has been implicated in endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. Here, we studied the contribution of ω-3 PUFAs to TRPV4 function by precisely manipulating the fatty acid content in Caenorhabditis elegans. By genetically depriving the worms of PUFAs, we determined that the metabolism of ω-3 fatty acids is required for TRPV4 activity. Functional, lipid metabolome, and biophysical analyses demonstrated that ω-3 PUFAs enhance TRPV4 function in human endothelial cells and support the hypothesis that lipid metabolism and membrane remodeling regulate cell reactivity. We propose a model whereby the eicosanoid's epoxide group location increases membrane fluidity and influences the endothelial cell response by increasing TRPV4 channel activity. ω-3 PUFA-like molecules might be viable antihypertensive agents for targeting TRPV4 to reduce systemic blood pressure.

Keywords: 17,18-epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid; Caenorhabditis elegans; TRP channels; TRPV4; atomic force microscopy; eicosapentaenoic acid; endothelial cells; fatty acids; neurons; polyunsaturated fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Antihypertensive Agents / metabolism
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / drug effects*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Membrane Fluidity / drug effects
  • Metabolome
  • Phorbols / pharmacology
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • TRPV Cation Channels / agonists
  • TRPV Cation Channels / genetics*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism


  • 4alpha-phorbol 12,13-didecanone
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Phorbols
  • Phospholipids
  • TRPV Cation Channels