Influence of a Total Parenteral Nutrition Enriched with omega-3 Fatty Acids on Leukotriene Synthesis of Peripheral Leukocytes and Systemic Cytokine Levels in Patients with Major Surgery

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Nutritive immunomodulation of patients after major surgery.


Prospective, randomized controlled double-blind study.


Forty patients undergoing major intestinal surgery. Patients were divided into two groups: one received a total parenteral nutrition enriched with omega-3 fatty acids for 5 days postoperatively, the other an isocaloric, control nutrition.

Material and Methods

We analyzed the leukocyte ability to release leukotrienes from whole blood leukocytes stimulated with the calcium ionophore A23187 (5 micromol/L) by reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography and circulating cytokines by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Leukocytes from patients of the omega-3 fatty acids group generated significantly higher amounts of less biologically active leukotriene B5 as compared to the control group (p < or = to 0.001). This was accompanied by a significant decrease in the generation of proinflammatory leukotriene B4 (p < or = to 0.006) in the study group. In contrast to interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6, and interleukin-10 systemic levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (p < or = to 0.05) were postoperatively decreased in the study group.


Our data provide evidence that a total parenteral nutrition enriched with omega-3 fatty acids modulates the lipid mediator pattern and systemic tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels.

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