It was investigated whether dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) could influence colonic injury, tissue DNA damage, cytokines and myeloperoxidase activity (MPO) and plasma corticosterone in DSS-induced colitis rats.

Male weaning Wistar rats were fed for 47 days with an AIN-93 diet with control (C), fish (F) or a mixture of fish and soybean oil (SF). The colitis was induced from day 36 until day 42 by 3% DSS in drinking water. On day 48, blood samples were collected for corticosterone determination. The distal colon was excised for histological analysis and to quantify the cytokine (IL-4, IL-10 and INF-gamma), MPO and DNA damage. The disease activity index (DAI) was recorded daily during colitis induction.

The DAI, MPO, histological analyses showed decreases only in the SF group compared with the C group. IL-10 was increased and DNA damage was reduced in the groups F and SF, and an inverse correlation between these variables was found. There were no differences in corticosterone, IFN-gamma and IL-4 levels.

Soybean and fish oil mixture may be effective in improving colonic injury and DNA damage, and it could be an important complementary therapy in UC to reduce the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and prevent colorectal cancer.