Ten patients with psoriasis resistant to conventional topical treatment were given dietary supplements of fish oil, providing approximately 12 g of eicosapentaenoic acid daily for a period of at least 6 weeks.

In eight patients there was a modest improvement in their psoriasis, the principal effects being a diminution of erythema and scaling.

The dietary treatment resulted in a substantial inhibition of leukotriene B4 production by the peripheral blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes in vitro. The discrepancy between the high degree of inhibition of leukotriene B4 synthesis and the modest therapeutic effect suggests that leukotriene B4 is not the only mediator involved in the development of the psoriatic lesion.

Furthermore, the in vivo cutaneous levels of leukotriene B4 might not have been inhibited to the same extent as the polymorphonuclear leukocyte levels in vitro.

Further studies on the use of fish oil supplements, both on their own and in conjunction with other forms of treatment in psoriasis are warranted. It will also be important to determine whether the altered profile of 5-lipoxygenase products found in the blood is also seen in the skin.