Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica     
Massaro M., Scoditti E., Carluccio M. A., Montinari M. R., De Caterina R. Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Inflammation and Angiogenesis: Nutrigenomic Effects as an Explanation for Anti-Atherogenic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Fish and Fish Oils. In: Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics, vol. 1 pp. 4 - 23. KARGER, 2008.
Atherosclerosis is a dynamic process with inflammatory aspects playing a considerable pathogenetic role. In this process, the vascular endothelium is the key regulator of vascular function, promoting the maintenance of vascular homeostasis or the progression towards vascular disease. In the past 30 years, the dietary intake of omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids - mainly derived from fish - has emerged as an important way to modify cardiovascular risk through beneficial effects on all stages of atherosclerosis. This review specifically focuses on the modulating effects of n-3 fatty acids on molecular events involved in early and late atherogenesis, including effects on endothelial expression of adhesion molecules, as well as pro-inflammatory and proangiogenic enzymes. By accumulating in endothelial membrane phospholipids, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease the transcriptional activation of several genes through a decreased activation of the nuclear factor- B system of transcription factors. This occurs secondary to decreased generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species Omega-3 fatty acids have recently emerged as an example of nutrients able to modulate the expression of genes involved in inflammation and atherosclerosis. Their ability to influence such processes is therefore a good example of nutrigenomics. This review summarizes the evidence to this regard. Since a description of the molecular events underlying endothelial changes in atherosclerosis is important for an understanding of the mode of action of these nutrients, a short review of current concepts of inflammation and atherosclerosis gives the background to place their genomic effect in context.
Subject Inflammation
omega-3 fatty acids

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