Keywords Diabetic retinopathy
omega-3 fatty acids.
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Omega-3 fatty acids exert several important biological effects on factors that may predispose to diabetic retinopathy. Potential pathogenetic mechanisms include platelet dysfunction, altered eicosanoid production, increased blood viscosity in association with impaired cell deformability and pathologic leucocyte/endothelium interaction. Therefore, we tested whether a 6-month administration of fish oil (750 mg Maxepa, 5 times per week), containing 14 % eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 10 % docosahexaenic acid, could inhibit the development of experimental retinopathy of the streptozotocin-diabetic rat. The efficiency of fish oil supplementation was evaluated by measuring EPA concentrations in total, plasma and membrane fatty acids and by measuring the generation of lipid mediators (leukotrienes and thromboxanes). Retinal digest preparations were quantitatively analysed for pericyte loss, and the formation of acellular capillaries. Omega-3 fatty acid administration to diabetic rats resulted in a twofold increase of EPA 20:5 in total fatty acids, and a reduction of the thromboxane2/3 ratio from 600 (untreated diabetic rats) to 50 (treated diabetic rats). Despite these biochemical changes, diabetes-associated pericyte loss remained unaffected and the formation of acellular, occluded capillaries was increased by 75 % in the fish oil treated diabetic group (115.1 ± 26.8; untreated diabetic 65.2 ± 15.0 acellular capillary segments/mm2 of retinal area). We conclude from this study that dietary fish oil supplementation may be harmful for the diabetic microvasculature in the retina. [Diabetologia (1996) 39: 251–255]
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