Omega-3 fatty acids, inflammatory status and biochemical markers of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a pilot study

Rev Bras Reumatol Engl Ed. 2017 Nov-Dec;57(6):526-534. doi: 10.1016/j.rbre.2016.09.014. Epub 2016 Oct 22.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Background: Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the concentrations of eicosanoids, cytokines, chemokines, C-reactive protein (CRP) and other inflammatory mediators.

Objective: To investigate the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on circulating levels of inflammatory mediators and biochemical markers in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: Experimental clinical study (clinical trial: NCT02524795); 49 women with SLE (ACR1982/1997) were randomized: 22 to the omega-3 group (daily intake of 1080mg EPA+200mg DHA, for 12 weeks) and 27 to the control group. The inflammatory mediators and biochemical markers at T0 and T1 in omega-3 group were compared using Wilcoxon test. U-Mann-Whitney test was used to compare variations of measured variables [ΔV=pre-treatment (T0)-post-treatment (T1) concentrations] between groups. p<0.05 was considered significant.

Results: The median (interquartile range - IQR) of age was 37 (29-48) years old, of disease duration was 7 (4-13) years, and of SLEDAI-2K was 1 (0-2). The median (IQR) of variation in CRP levels between the two groups showed a decrease in omega-3 group while there was an increase in control group (p=0.008). The serum concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10, leptin and adiponectin did not change after a 12 week treatment.

Conclusions: Supplementation with omega-3 had no impact on serum concentrations of IL-6, IL-10, leptin and adiponectin in women with SLE and low disease activity. There was a significant decrease of CRP levels as well as evidence that omega-3 may impact total and LDL-cholesterol.

Keywords: Adipocinas; Adipokines; C reactive protein; Citocinas; Cytokines; Lúpus eritematoso sistêmico; Omega 3; Proteína C-reativa; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Ômega-3.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / drug effects*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / drug effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • IL10 protein, human
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-10
  • C-Reactive Protein

Associated data