Randomized controlled trial of oral omega-3 PUFA in solar-simulated radiation-induced suppression of human cutaneous immune responses

From Dermatological Sciences, Institute of Inflammation and Repair, School of Translational Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Salford Royal National Health Service Foundation Hospital, Manchester, United Kingdom.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 01/2013; 97(3). DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.049494
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND: Skin cancer is a major public health concern, and the majority of cases are caused by solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure, which suppresses skin immunity. Omega-3 (n-3) PUFAs protect against photoimmunosuppression and skin cancer in mice, but the impact in humans is unknown. OBJECTIVES: We hypothesized that EPA-rich n-3 PUFA would abrogate photoimmunosuppression in humans. Therefore, a nutritional study was performed to assess the effect on UVR suppression of cutaneous cell-mediated immunity (CMI) reflected by nickel contact hypersensitivity (CHS). DESIGN: In a double-blind, randomized controlled study, 79 volunteers (nickel-allergic women, 22-60 y old, with phototype I or II) took 5 g n-3 PUFA-containing lipid (70% EPA plus 10% DHA) or a control lipid daily for 3 mo. After supplementation, nickel was applied to 3 skin sites preexposed on 3 consecutive days to 1.9, 3.8, or 7.6 J/cm(2) of solar-simulated radiation (SSR) and to 3 unexposed control sites. Nickel CHS responses were quantified after 72 h and the percentage of immunosuppression by SSR was calculated. Erythrocyte [red blood cell (RBC)] EPA was measured by using gas chromatography. RESULTS: SSR dose-related suppression of the nickel CHS response was observed in both groups. Photoimmunosuppression appeared less in the n-3 PUFA group than in the control group (not statistically significant [mean difference (95% CI): 6.9% (-2.1%, 15.9%)]). The difference was greatest at 3.8 J/cm(2) SSR [mean difference: 11% (95% CI: 0.5%, 21.4%)]. Postsupplementation RBC EPA was 4-fold higher in the n-3 PUFA group than in the control group (mean difference: 2.69% (95% CI: 2.23%, 3.14%), which confirmed the EPA bioavailability. CONCLUSION: Oral n-3 PUFAs appear to abrogate photoimmunosuppression in human skin, providing additional support for their chemopreventive role; verification of study findings is required. This trial was registered at as NCT01032343.

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