Fish oils (FOs) have anti-inflammatory effects and lower serum triglycerides. This study examined adipose and muscle inflammatory markers after treatment of humans with FOs and measured the effects of ω-3 fatty acids on adipocytes and macrophages in vitro. Insulin-resistant, nondiabetic subjects were treated with Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters (4 g/day) or placebo for 12 weeks. Plasma macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) levels were reduced by FO, but the levels of other cytokines were unchanged. The adipose (but not muscle) of FO-treated subjects demonstrated a decrease in macrophages, a decrease in MCP-1, and an increase in capillaries, and subjects with the most macrophages demonstrated the greatest response to treatment. Adipose and muscle ω-3 fatty acid content increased after treatment; however, there was no change in insulin sensitivity or adiponectin. In vitro, M1-polarized macrophages expressed high levels of MCP-1. The addition of ω-3 fatty acids reduced MCP-1 expression with no effect on TNF-α. In addition, ω-3 fatty acids suppressed the upregulation of adipocyte MCP-1 that occurred when adipocytes were cocultured with macrophages. Thus, FO reduced adipose macrophages, increased capillaries, and reduced MCP-1 expression in insulin-resistant humans and in macrophages and adipocytes in vitro; however, there was no measureable effect on insulin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-17
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Abdominal Fat/blood supply
  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents/metabolism
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Capillaries/immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL2/blood
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Down-Regulation
  • Drug Combinations
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3/metabolism
  • Female
  • Fish Oils/therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Macrophages/immunology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome/complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles/immunology
  • Obesity/complications
  • RNA, Messenger/metabolism


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