Differential effects of EPA vs. DHA on postprandial vascular function and the plasma oxylipin profile in men

Sean McManus (Lead Author), Noemi Tejera (Lead Author), Khader Awwad, David Vauzour, Neil Rigby, Ingrid Fleming, Aedin Cassidy, Anne-Marie Minihane

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Our objective was to investigate the impact of EPA versus DHA, on arterial stiffness and reactivity, and underlying mechanisms (with a focus on plasma oxylipins), in the postprandial state. In a 3-arm cross-over acute test meal trial men (n=26, 35-55y) at increased CVD risk, received a high fat (42.4g) test meal providing 4.16 g of EPA or DHA or control oil in random order. At 0 h and 4 h, blood samples were collected to quantify plasma fatty acids, LCn-3PUFAs derived oxylipins, nitrite and hydrogen sulfide and serum lipids and glucose. Vascular function was assessed using blood pressure, Reactive Hyperaemia Index (RHI), Pulse Wave Velocity and Augmentation Index (AIx). The DHA-rich oil significantly reduced AIx by 13% (P=0.047) with the decrease following EPA-rich oil intervention not reaching statistical significance. Both interventions increased EPA and DHA derived oxylipins in the acute postprandial state, with an (1.3 fold) increase in 19,20-DiHDPA evident after DHA intervention (P < 0.001). In conclusion, a single dose of DHA significantly improved postprandial arterial stiffness as assessed by AIx, which if sustained would be associated with a significant decrease in CVD risk. The observed increases in oxylipins provide a mechanistic insight for the AIx effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1720-1727
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Lipid Research
Early online date11 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • augmentation index
  • blood pressure
  • fish oil
  • hydrogen sulfide
  • lipidomics
  • nitric oxide
  • nutrition
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • pulse wave velocity

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