Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is a potent mitogen thought to propagate atherosclerosis and other proliferative or inflammatory diseases. Some of these diseases are ameliorated in humans by ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids. We investigated mRNA expression of both PDGF-A and PDGF-B in quiescent peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy male volunteers. For this, a highly sensitive, quantitative polymerase chain reaction strategy (3n-PCR) was developed. In contrast to granulocytes, both PDGF-A and PDGF-B mRNAs are expressed in mononuclear cells. This expression occurs at a remarkably constant rate. Moreover, effects of 7 g/d of a 85% omega-3 fatty acid fish oil concentrate were investigated in a 6-week controlled, randomized, observer-blind study in 14 human volunteers, 7 of whom served as controls. omega-3 Fatty acids increased in mononuclear cell phospholipids. We demonstrate for the first time that diet affects human gene regulation. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids downregulate gene expression of both PDGF-A (-66%), and PDGF-B (-70%). This may represent a novel mechanism for the antifibrotic and antiatherosclerotic action of omega-3 fatty acids.

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