Scientists: Fish Oil May Fight Asthma

Washington, US scientists from University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered new essential information about omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish oil and how they could be used for asthma patients.

In a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation -- Insight, researchers using cell cultures from local asthma patients, found that Omega-3 fatty acid products can reduce the production of IgE, the antibodies that cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people with milder cases of asthma.

But in patients with severe asthma who use high doses of oral steroids, the omega-3 fatty acids are less effective because the corticosteroids block the beneficial effects.

Lead author Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D., the Wright Family Research Professor of Environmental Medicine, and his lab had previously shown that certain fatty acids contained in fish oil regulate the function of immune cells (B cells). They wanted to further investigate the effects on asthma.

People with asthma have an imbalance between molecules that dampen inflammation and those that increase inflammation. Using steroids as treatment controls the inflammation and relieves symptoms, but does not cure the underlying disease.

Phipps and his team collected blood from 17 patients and isolated their B immune cells in the laboratory to explore the impact of pure omega-3-derived products on IgE and other molecules that fuel the disease and conducted much of the laboratory and clinical work, and compared the results of the 17 patients to donors of healthy blood cells.

Results showed that all responded to the omega-3 fatty acids to some degree, as evidenced by a reduction in the levels of IgE antibodies. But unexpectedly, Phipps said, the cells from a small subset of patients who were taking oral steroids were less sensitive to the omega-3 treatment.

Source: Qatar News Agency