United Press International
December 5, 1997
UPI Science News
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) The oil found in seafood may help quell the fever and widespread pain and stiffness in joints and elsewhere in the body that plague people with rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory disorders.
The fat found in marine fish has long been touted for its benefit in keeping down levels of blood
cholesterol. But researchers now report that same fat is processed by the body in a way that the end
product causes less inflammation than the digestive products of other animal and vegetable oils.
Dr. Richard Sperling, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said ordinarily the kind of white blood cells that promote inflammation build their active molecule with the oils found in land-based foods, whether animal or plant. Although these white cells, called neutrophils, can also build the molecule with the oils of ocean- dwelling fish, the end product differs in a way that is structurally slight but substantial in effect.
Not only does it reduce the tendency of the active molecule to incite further inflammation; the neutrophils themselves are less likely to migrate to the site of inflammation in the first place. They are also less likely to release several other damage-causing molecules and enzymes.
There is no known treatment for either rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, and all current medications, while reducing pain, swelling, and fever, are accompanied by undesirable side effects.
The researchers have reported on their work at a meeting this week of the British Society for Immunology report in Brighton, England