|Inflammation is overall a protective response, whose main goal is to liberate the human being of cellular lesions caused by micro-organisms, toxins, allergens, etc., as well as its consequences, and of death cells and necrotic tissues.
Chronic inflammation, which is detrimental to tissues, is the basic pathogenic mechanism of hypersensitivity reactions against xenobiotics.
Other frequent pathologies, for instance atherosclerosis, chronic hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver cirrhosis, lung fibrosis, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis are also chronic inflammatory diseases. Chemical mediators of inflammation are derived from blood plasma or different cell-type activity. Biogenic amines, eicosanoids and cytokines are within the most important mediators of inflammatory processes.
The different activities of eicosanoids derived from arachidonic acid (20:4 n-6) versus those derived from eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5 n-3) are one of the most important mechanisms to explain why n-3, or omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) exhibit anti-inflammatory properties in many inflammatory diseases.
Dietary supplements ranging 1-8 g per day of n-3 PUFA have been reportedly beneficial in the treatment of IBD, eczema, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, recent experimental studies in rats with experimental ulcerative colitis, induced by intrarectal injection of trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid, have documented that treatment with n-3 long-chain PUFA reduces mucosal damage as assessed by biochemical and histological markers of inflammation. Moreover, the defence antioxidant system in this model is enhanced in treated animals, provided that the n-3 PUFA supply is adequately preserved from oxidation.