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Inflammatory diseases and the western lifestyle

A study mapped the role of anti-inflammatory mediators in smoke-induced inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The new insights can provide a foundation to curb the rise in inflammatory diseases.
Inflammatory diseases and the western lifestyle
Over the past several decades, chronic inflammatory diseases, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease have been on the rise, particularly in industrialised countries. Changes in the western lifestyle and diet have made a major contribution to this trend.

Reduced intake of fibres and changed intake of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids has created a precursor for the formation of pro-inflammatory molecules. Hence, there is a link between such dietary fatty acids and inflammation. Dietary fibres also play a role because they are converted to fatty acids that contain anti-inflammatory properties.

An EU-funded project, IRESOLUTION (The role of western lifestyle factors in smoke-induced inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), investigated whether fatty acids play a role in cigarette smoke-induced inflammation in COPD. Results showed that cigarette smoke negatively affects airway epithelial cell differentiation. It also impacts the presence of antimicrobial molecules that are produced by the airway epithelium.

IRESOLUTION also investigated whether smoking can disrupt the absorption and conversion of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. The team found only a few differences between fatty acids in the membranes of COPD patients compared to healthy controls. The researchers were successful in measuring the content of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory lipid mediators in the sputum of COPD patients before, during and after an exacerbation.

Project results can contribute to a better understanding of the resolution phase of inflammation. This can help in the identification of novel therapeutic targets that are applicable for COPD and possibly more inflammatory diseases.

Related information

Keywords

Inflammatory diseases, western lifestyle, smoke-induced inflammation, COPD, IRESOLUTION
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