Treatment With a Marine Oil Supplement Alters Lipid Mediators and Leukocyte Phenotype in Healthy Patients and Those With Peripheral Artery Disease

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Aug 4;9(15):e016113. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.016113. Epub 2020 Jul 22.


Background Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an advanced form of atherosclerosis characterized by chronic inflammation. Resolution of inflammation is a highly coordinated process driven by specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators endogenously derived from omega-3 fatty acids. We investigated the impact of a short-course, oral, enriched marine oil supplement on leukocyte phenotype and biochemical mediators in patients with symptomatic PAD and healthy volunteers. Methods and Results This was a prospective, open-label study of 5-day oral administration of an enriched marine oil supplement, assessing 3 escalating doses in 10 healthy volunteers and 10 patients with PAD. Over the course of the study, there was a significant increase in the plasma level of several lipid mediator families, total specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators, and specialized pro-resolving lipid mediator:prostaglandin ratio. Supplementation was associated with an increase in phagocytic activity of peripheral blood monocytes and neutrophils. Circulating monocyte phenotyping demonstrated reduced expression of multiple proinflammatory markers (cluster of differentiation 18, 163, 54, and 36, and chemokine receptor 2). Similarly, transcriptional profiling of monocyte-derived macrophages displayed polarization toward a reparative phenotype postsupplementation. The most notable cellular and biochemical changes over the study occurred in patients with PAD. There were strong correlations between integrated biochemical measures of lipid mediators (specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators:prostaglandin ratio) and phenotypic changes in circulating leukocytes in both healthy individuals and patients with PAD. Conclusions These data suggest that short-term enriched marine oil supplementation dramatically remodels downstream lipid mediator pathways and induces a less inflammatory and more pro-resolution phenotype in circulating leukocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages. Further studies are required to determine the potential clinical relevance of these findings in patients with PAD. Registration URL:; Unique identifier: NCT02719665.

Keywords: fatty acids; inflammation; lipid metabolites; peripheral artery disease; vascular disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / blood
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / prevention & control*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Secondary Prevention


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • docosapentaenoic acid

Associated data