A fellowship investigating the potential benefits of omega 3 fats for rheumatoid arthritis

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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

How do omega-3 fats help inflammatory arthritis?

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Dr Lucy Norling
  • Type of grant
    ZZZ-Career Development Fellowship
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    Queen Mary University of London
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition
    Rheumatoid Arthritis

What are the aims of this research?


To investigate the anti-inflammatory and joint protective effects of novel omega-3-derived beneficial fats.


Why is this research important?


It is known that the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is lower in Japanese and Inuit populations who consume large amounts of oily fish. Clinical studies have confirmed that fish oil supplementation is a useful complementary therapy for patients with RA, reducing joint pain, morning stiffness and the amount of pain-relief required. Fish oils contain abundant amounts of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids but there is an uncertainty about how and why these produce their anti-inflammatory effects. It has recently been discovered that omega-3 fish oils can be broken down inside the body to smaller anti-inflammatory fats named resolvins. These beneficial fats are made during short inflammatory episodes, and help to reduce the signs associated with inflammation including heat, redness and swelling. However, we believe that insufficient levels of resolvins are made during chronic conditions; therefore inflammation persists and gets worse leading to joint damage. It is imperative that we further elucidate this in order to understand the reasons why arthritis persists. I will also determine whether resolvin-based therapies would be beneficial for RA patients by first performing pre-clinical studies.


How will the findings benefit patients?


Understanding how omega-3 beneficial fats exert their anti-inflammatory and healing properties will provide pre-clinical information for the use of resolvin-based therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis.

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