EPA (fatty acid) prevents NF-kappaB activation



As I've said, NF-kappaB triggers a lot of the bad genes in cancer. Here's another reason why EPA is
probably a good anti-cancer agent if used correctly (at proper doses - too low = ineffective, too
high - toxic to normal cells).


J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Feb;23(1):71-8.

EPA Prevents LPS-Induced TNF-alpha Expression by Preventing NF-kappaB Activation.

Zhao Y, Joshi-Barve S, Barve S, Chen LH. Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences (Y.Z., L.H.C.),
Internal Medicine
(S.J.-B., S.B.), University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

BACKGROUND: Many studies have shown that fish oil supplementation inhibits tumor necrosis factor-
alpha (TNF-alpha) production in mice and human subjects; however, the mechanisms remain unclear.
Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is a transcription factor that plays an important role in
controlling the expression of pro-inflammatory genes including TNF-alpha. Activation of NF-kappaB
has been shown to mediate the maximal expression of TNF-alpha in human monocytes. NF-kappaB is kept
in an inactive form in the cytoplasm by IkappaB, the inhibitory subunit of NF-kappaB complex.
Phosphorylation and subsequent degradation of IkappaB lead to NF-kappaB activation.

OBJECTIVES: The effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a major n-3 fatty acid in fish oil, on the
lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced expression of TNF-alpha and activation of NF-kappaB were
investigated. The mechanism underlying EPA modulation of NF-kappaB activation was also studied.

METHODS: Human monocytic THP-1 cells were pre-incubated with EPA and stimulated with LPS. The
levels of secreted TNF-alpha were determined by ELISA. The DNA binding activity of NF-kappaB was
analyzed by EMSA. The degradation and phosphorylation of IkappaB-alpha were examined by Western
blot analysis.

RESULTS: TNF-alpha production and expression induced by LPS were significantly decreased in cells
pre-incubated with EPA. LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation, translocation of p65 subunit to the
nucleus, phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaB-alpha were partially prevented by EPA.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that suppression of the TNF-alpha expression by EPA is partly
attributed to its inhibitory effect on NF-kappaB activation. EPA appears to prevent NF-kappaB
activation by preventing the phosphorylation of IkappaB-alpha.