Parenteral omega-3 fatty acids (Omegaven) modulate intestinal recovery after intestinal ischemia-reperfusion in a rat model

Igor Sukhotnik, Nadav Slijper, Yulia Pollak, Elena Chemodanov, Ron Shaoul, Arnold G Coran, Jorge G Mogilner
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2011, 46 (7): 1353-60

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Fatty acids from fish oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, 3PUFAs) are emerging as powerful yet safe disease-modifying nutrients and are protective in severe critical care conditions including ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of 3PUFAs on intestinal structural changes, enterocyte proliferation, and apoptosis after intestinal IR in a rat.

METHODS: Male rats were divided into three experimental groups: sham rats underwent laparotomy, IR rats underwent occlusion of both superior mesenteric artery and portal vein for 30 minutes followed by 48 hours of reperfusion, and 3PUFA-treated IR (IR-3PUFA) rats underwent IR and were treated with Omegaven (Fresenius Kabi, Bad Homburg, Germany) given intraperitoneally at a dose of 1 mL twice a day. Intestinal structural changes (Park injury score, overall bowel and mucosal weight, mucosal DNA and protein, villus height and crypt depth, cell proliferation, and apoptosis) were determined 48 hours after IR. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to determine the level of bax and bcl-2 messenger RNA.

RESULTS: A significant decrease in bowel and mucosal weight was observed in the ileum of untreated IR rats compared with sham animals. Forty-eight hours after IR, cell apoptosis remained increased in the jejunum and ileum, which coincided with increased bax/bcl-2 ratio. Cell proliferation was increased 48 hours after IR, suggesting tissue repair. Treatment with Omegaven resulted in a significant increase in bowel and mucosal weight in the jejunum and ileum, villus height in the jejunum and ileum, and crypt depth in the jejunum compared with untreated IR animals. IR-3PUFA rats also demonstrated a significantly lower Park injury score in the jejunum and ileum as well as a lower apoptotic index in the ileum compared with untreated IR animals.

CONCLUSIONS: Parenteral Omegaven administration decreases the intestinal mucosal injury and inhibits enterocyte apoptosis after intestinal IR in a rat.

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