Effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on endothelial function, endogenous fibrinolysis and platelet activation in male cigarette smokers

Jehangir N. Din, Rachel M. Archer, Scott A. Harding, Jaydeep Sarma, Karin Lyall, Andrew D. Flapan, David E. Newby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on endothelial function, fibrinolysis and platelet function are uncertain. We investigated the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on endothelial vasomotor function, endogenous fibrinolysis, and platelet and monocyte activation in healthy cigarette smokers; a group at increased risk of myocardial infarction.

Design, setting, participants Twenty cigarette smokers were recruited into a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

Intervention omega-3 fatty acid supplements (2 g/day) or placebo for a 6-week period.

Main outcome measures Peripheral blood was taken for analysis of platelet and monocyte activation, and forearm blood flow (FBF) was assessed in a subset of 12 smokers during intrabrachial infusions of acetylcholine, substance P and sodium nitroprusside. Stimulated plasma tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) concentrations were measured during substance P infusion.

Results All vasodilators caused dose-dependent increases in FBF (p<0.0001). Compared with placebo, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation led to greater endothelium-dependent vasodilatation with acetylcholine and substance P (p=0.0032 and p=0.056). Substance P caused a dose-dependent increase in plasma t-PA concentrations (p<0.0001) that was greater after omega-3 fatty acid supplementation compared with placebo (8.8 +/- 2.3 IU ml(-1) vs 3.6 +/- 1.1 IU ml(-1); p=0.029). omega-3 fatty acids did not affect platelet-monocyte aggregation, platelet P-selectin or CD40L, or monocyte CD40.

Conclusions We have demonstrated for the first time that omega-3 fatty acids augment acute endothelial t-PA release and improve endothelial vasomotor function in cigarette smokers. Improved endogenous fibrinolysis and endothelial function may represent important mechanisms through which omega-3 fatty acids confer potential cardiovascular benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-174
Number of pages7
JournalHeart
Volume99
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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