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Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty-acid supplementation on neuropathic pain symptoms and sphingosine levels in Mexican-Americans with type 2 diabetes

Authors Durán AM, Salto LM, Câmara J, Basu A, Paquien I, Beeson WL, Firek A, Cordero-MacIntyre Z, De León M

Received 12 September 2018

Accepted for publication 13 November 2018

Published 8 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 109—120


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Konstantinos Tziomalos

Alfonso M Durán,1 Lorena M Salto,1 Justin Câmara,1 Anamika Basu,1 Ivette Paquien,1 W Lawrence Beeson,1,2 Anthony Firek,3 Zaida Cordero-MacIntyre,1,2 Marino De León1

Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA, USA; 2Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA; 3Comparative Effectiveness and Clinical Outcomes Research Center, Riverside University Health System Medical Center, Moreno Valley, CA, USA

To determine whether dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduces neuropathic pain symptoms in Mexican-Americans with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: Forty volunteers with type 2 diabetes enrolled in the “En Balance-PLUS” program, which provided weekly nutrition–diabetes education and daily supplementation with 1,000 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)–200 mg eicosapentaenoic acid over 3 months. The study assessed self-reported neuropathic pain symptoms pre/postintervention using the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), monitored clinical laboratory values at baseline and 3 months, and performed baseline and 3-month metabolomic analysis of plasma samples.
Results: A total of 26 participants self-reported neuropathic pain symptoms at baseline. After 3 months of omega-3 PUFA supplementation, participants reported significant improvement in SF-MPQ scores (sensory, affective, and visual analogue scale; P<0.001, P=0.012, and P<0.001, respectively). Untargeted metabolomic analysis revealed that participants in the moderate–high SF-MPQ group had the highest relative plasma sphingosine levels at baseline compared to the low SF-MPQ group (P=0.0127) and the nonpain group (P=0.0444). Omega-3 PUFA supplementation increased plasma DHA and reduced plasma sphingosine levels in participants reporting neuropathic pain symptoms (P<0.001 and P<0.001, respectively). Increased plasma DHA levels significantly correlated with improved SF-MPQ sensory scores (r=0.425, P=0.030). Improved SF-MPQ scores, however, did not correlate with clinical/laboratory parameters.
Conclusion: The data suggest that omega-3 PUFAs dietary supplementation may reduce neuropathic pain symptoms in individuals with type 2 diabetes and correlates with sphingosine levels in the plasma.

lipotoxicity, painful diabetic neuropathy, health disparities, community intervention, neuroprotection, Latinos

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