Docosahexaenoic acid reduces inflammation and joint destruction in mice with collagen-induced arthritis

Melissa V. Olson, Ying Chun Liu, Bindi Dangi, J. Paul Zimmer, Norman Salem, Julie M. Nauroth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: This study was designed to determine the anti-inflammatory activity of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alone and in combination with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis, collagen induced arthritis (CIA). Methods: The CIA was induced in DBA/1OlaHsd mice by the injection of bovine type II collagen in Freunds's complete adjuvant on days 0 and 21. Mice were fed modified diets containing DHA and/or EPA for 4 weeks prior to the initial collagen injection until study termination at day 45. The severity of CIA was assessed by measuring erythema, edema and mobility of the digits on the fore and hind paws, as well as histology. The level of serum anti-collagen antibodies was determined by ELISA. The ex vivo effects of DHA and/or EPA on splenocyte proliferation and cytokine production were evaluated by BrdU method and ELISA. Results: Prophylactic treatment with DHA, and not DHA/EPA, significantly reduced arthritis severity and joint damage. Treatment with DHA also decreased anti-collagen (CII) antibodies in vivo, downregulated interleukin-1β, interferonγ and upregulated protective interleukin-10 ex vivo. Conclusion: Prophylactic treatment with DHA was efficacious in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis and may be a useful intervention strategy against inflammatory arthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1013
Number of pages11
JournalInflammation Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthritis
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Inflammation
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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