Elevated prostaglandin E metabolites and abnormal plasma fatty acids at baseline in pediatric cystic fibrosis patients: a pilot study

Michael Glenn O'Connor, Kelly Thomsen, Rebekah F. Brown, Michael Laposata, Adam Seegmiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Airway inflammation is a significant contributor to the morbidity of cystic fibrosis (CF) disease. One feature of this inflammation is the production of oxygenated metabolites, such as prostaglandins. Individuals with CF are known to have abnormal metabolism of fatty acids, typically resulting in reduced levels of linoleic acid (LA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Methods This is a randomized, double-blind, cross-over clinical trial of DHA supplementation with endpoints of plasma fatty acid levels and prostaglandin E metabolite (PGE-M) levels. Patients with CF age 6–18 years with pancreatic insufficiency were recruited. Each participant completed 3 four-week study periods: DHA at two different doses (high dose and low dose) and placebo with a minimum 4 week wash-out between each period. Blood, urine, and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) were collected at baseline and after each study period for measurement of plasma fatty acids as well as prostaglandin E metabolites. Results Seventeen participants were enrolled, and 12 participants completed all 3 study periods. Overall, DHA supplementation was well tolerated without significant adverse events. There was a significant increase in plasma DHA levels with supplementation, but no significant change in arachidonic acid (AA) or LA levels. However, at baseline, AA levels were lower and LA levels were higher than previously reported for individuals with CF. Urine PGE-M levels were elevated in the majority of participants at baseline, and while levels decreased with DHA supplementation, they also decreased with placebo. Conclusions Urine PGE-M levels are elevated at baseline in this cohort of pediatric CF patients, but there was no significant change in these levels with DHA supplementation compared to placebo. In addition, baseline plasma fatty acid levels for this cohort showed some difference to prior reports, including higher levels of LA and lower levels of AA, which may reflect changes in clinical care, and consequently warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-49
Number of pages4
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • DHA
  • Fatty acids
  • Prostaglandin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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