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Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Reappraisal of Effects and Therapeutic Approaches

Marion-Letellier, Rachel PhD*; Savoye, Guillaume MD*,†; Beck, Paul L. MD; Panaccione, Remo MD; Ghosh, Subrata MD

doi: 10.1097/MIB.0b013e3182810122
Basic Science Review

Recent epidemiological studies highlight the key role of the type of consumed unsaturated fatty acid and the development of ulcerative colitis (UC). We aimed to review the potential mechanisms behind the antiinflammatory effects of unsaturated fatty acids on intestinal inflammation, to discuss their potential limitations, and to propose a new reappraisal of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A literature search using PubMed was carried out to identify relevant studies (basic science, epidemiological studies, or clinical trials) with unsaturated fatty acids and IBD. Only articles published in English were included. IBD patients exhibit an altered lipid metabolism. While in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the antiinflammatory properties of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in experimental models IBD, results of clinical trials have been disappointing. In addition, the impact of fatty acid on innate immunity as an alternative therapeutic approach is explored. This may offer insight into therapeutic avenues for designing n-3 PUFA diet therapy for IBD.

Article first published online 16 January 2013

*INSERM Unit UMR1073, Rouen University and Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France

Department of Gastroenterology, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France

Division of Gastroenterology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Reprints: Dr. Rachel Marion-Letellier, INSERM Unit UMR1073, Faculté de Médecine-Pharmacie, Institut Fédératif de Recherches Multidisciplinaires sur les Peptides (I.F.R. 23), 22, boulevard Gambetta, 76183 Rouen cedex, France (e-mail:

Drs. Ghosh, Panaccione, and Beck acknowledge the research support from Alberta IBD Consortium via a team grant from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.

Received May 05, 2012

Accepted May 29, 2012

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
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