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Evidence suggests that excessive inflammation of the immature intestine may predispose premature infants to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). We investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) in human fetal and adult intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) in primary culture.


  • Wijendran V, Brenna JT, Wang DH, Zhu W, Meng D, Ganguli K, Kothapalli KS, Requena P, Innis S, Walker WA. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids attenuate the IL-1β-induced proinflammatory response in human fetal intestinal epithelial cells. Pediatr Res. 2015 Dec;78(6):626-33. PMID: 26270575; PMCID: PMC5046822.

Read More: Pediatric Research

Research Details

  • Research Center: Harvard Medical School
  • Center Contribution: Dr. W. Allan Walker, one of the center Co-Directors, and his team identified that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) significantly decrease IL-1β-mediated pro-inflammatory responses in human fetal intestinal epithelial cells, suggesting that DHA and ARA may have important anti-inflammatory functions for the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in infants.

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