A high docosahexaenoic acid diet alters lung inflammation and recovery following repetitive exposure to aqueous organic dust extracts

Arzu Ulu, Abigail Burr, Art J. Heires, Jacqueline Pavlik, Tricia Larsen, Pedro A. Perez, Carissa Bravo, Nicholas V. DiPatrizio, Michelle Baack, Debra J. Romberger, Tara M. Nordgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Agricultural workers, especially those who work in swine confinement facilities, are at increased risk for developing pulmonary diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic bronchitis due to exposures to fumes, vapors, and organic dust. Repetitive exposure to agricultural dust leads to unresolved inflammation, a common underlying mechanism that worsens lung disease. Besides occupational exposure to dusts, diet also significantly contributes to inflammation and disease progression. Since DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid and its bioactive metabolites have key roles in inflammation resolution, we rationalized that individuals chronically exposed to organic dusts can benefit from dietary modifications. Here, we evaluated the role of DHA in modifying airway inflammation in a murine model of repetitive exposure to an aqueous extract of agricultural dust (three-week exposure to swine confinement dust extract, HDE) and after a one-week resolution/recovery period. We found that mice fed a high DHA diet had significantly increased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) levels of DHA-derived resolvins and lower TNFα along with altered plasma levels of endocannabinoids and related lipid mediators. Following the one-week recovery we identified significantly reduced BALF cellularity and cytokine/chemokine release along with increased BALF amphiregulin and resolvins in DHA diet-fed versus control diet-fed mice challenged with HDE. We further report observations on the effects of repetitive HDE exposure on lung Ym1+ and Arg-1+ macrophages. Overall, our findings support a protective role for DHA and identify DHA-derived resolvins and endocannabinoids among the potential mediators of DHA in altering airway inflammation in chronic agricultural dust exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108797
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • agricultural dust
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • endocannabinoids
  • resolvins
  • specialized pro-resolving mediators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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