A Fishy Fix For Inflammation
UCSF Magazine reports on the work of researchers using potent compounds, produced naturally from fish oil, to block the inflammation that can reblock arteries opened during stent procedures. Michael S. Conte, M.D. Chief of the Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery and Director of the Conte Lab, and other researcher are collaborating in this endeavor:
Doctors implant more than a half million stents annually to prop open patients’ blocked arteries and restore their blood flow. But often, inflammation triggers a process that reblocks the vessel as the area heals. UC San Francisco researchers are exploring ways to halt that process using potent compounds produced naturally from fish oil.
Following an injury, the body first generates compounds that promote inflammation and then a second set of compounds that stop or resolve the inflammation. Fish oil contains eicosa- pentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two omega-3 fatty acids that are the key precursors for the “pro-resolving” signaling compounds.
Michael Conte, MD, chief of vascular and endovascular surgery – with collaborators Tejal Desai, PhD ’98, chair of UCSF’s Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, and Charles Serhan, MD, of Harvard University – is developing ways to deliver these compounds to prevent ongoing inflammation in stented blood vessels.
Desai’s lab focuses on therapeutic microtechnology and nanotechnology, including stents with unique surface textures that can reduce reblockage and absorb the fish oil-derived compound, allowing it to slowly disperse into the artery.
“This idea has huge potential,” says Conte, who holds the Edwin J. Wylie, MD, Chair in Vascular Surgery. “The development of devices that could locally deliver these naturally occurring compounds to improve artery healing could have a broad impact in cardiovascular medicine and surgery.”