"Our study suggests that biologically active, naturally occurring compounds derived from omega-3 PUFAs reduce inflammation and improve the healing of blood vessels after injury," said Michael S. Conte, M.D., a researcher involved in the work from Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and the Heart and Vascular Center at the University of California, in San Francisco, CA.
"They suggest a new opportunity to improve the long-term results of cardiovascular procedures such as bypass surgery and angioplasty by the therapeutic application of this class of agents or their dietary precursors," he noted.
To make this discovery, Conte and colleagues studied the effects of the compounds (resolvin or RvD) first in cultured vascular cells taken from patients who had undergone bypass operations, and then in rabbits who were treated with a balloon angioplasty procedure in the arteries of the hind limb.
In the human cells, treatment with RvD dramatically reduced features that are associated with the typical vascular injury response-inflammation, cell migration, and cell growth in vascular smooth muscle cells.
The potency of these compounds corresponds to concentrations that have been measured in the blood of human subjects taking high dose fish oil supplements for short periods of time.
In rabbits, researchers treated the artery with RvD at the time of the balloon angioplasty procedure by infusing the drug directly into the vessel, and found that this one-time treatment reduced inflammation and subsequent scarring of the vessel after one month.
The research appeared in The FASEB Journal.