Oral ω-3 PUFA supplementation modulates inflammation in adipose tissue depots in morbidly obese women: A randomized trial

Nathalie Bakker, Meave Hickey, Rebecca Shams, Cristobal F. Rivera, John Vlahos, Huib A. Cense, Ahmet Demirkiran, Bhama Ramkhelawon, Alexander P. J. Houdijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Obesity is characterized by local and systemic low-grade inflammatory responses. Adipose tissue macrophages (ATM) play decisive roles in inflammation, insulin signaling, and various metabolic dysfunctions. Diets enriched with ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been shown to improve health and mitigate pathologic conditions. However, the effects of ω-3 PUFA on adipose tissue inflammation, ATM number, and phenotype are poorly defined in human obesity. The aim of this study was to examine differences in expression of metabolic-inflammatory markers in omental, mesenteric, and subcutaneous fat depots of obese women supplemented with ω-3 PUFAs for 4 wk compared with a low-calorie diet before bariatric surgery. Methods: In a randomized controlled trial, inflammatory markers in the abdominal adipose tissue and the systemic response in obese women were studied. Patients were treated with a 2-wk low-calorie diet (LCD) or a 4-wk ω-3 PUFA-enriched diet (920 mg eicosapentaenoic acid, 760 mg docosahexaenoic acid daily) before laparoscopic bypass surgery. Omental, mesenteric, and subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were collected during surgery and analyzed for quantity and phenotype of ATMs, and profiled for adipokines, cytokines, and signal transduction molecules. Results: The chronic inflammatory state characterized by ATM markers was mostly improved by ω-3 PUFAs in visceral adipose tissue. We observed a decreased expression of CD45, CCL2, and CD68, indicating a lower inflammatory state. In patients with type 2 diabetes, ω-3 PUFAs lowered the expression of Netrin-1. Conclusions: Compared with an LCD, a diet enriched with ω-3 PUFAs influences the inflammatory state in different adipose tissue depots, by affecting markers of adipose tissue inflammation, macrophage phenotype, and retention. However, this was not reflected in clinical parameters such as insulin resistance and inflammatory cytokines. Subcutaneous adipose tissue and visceral adipose tissue have different responses to an LCD or a ω-3 PUFA-enriched diet. The presence of diabetes modifies the expression of inflammatory markers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112055
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

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