Dietary long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) and their pro-resolving metabolites are protective against atherosclerotic disease, and ameliorate systemic inflammatory conditions including lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, and bronchial asthma. Organic bioaerosol inhalation is a common and injurious hazard associated with agricultural occupations such as work in swine concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and is known to increase the risk for developing respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD. Nearly all cells secrete membrane-bound vesicles (extracellular vesicles, EVs) that have the capacity to transmit protein, nucleic acid, and lipid signaling mediators between cells. Using a polymer-based isolation technique (ExoQuick, PEG) followed by ultracentrifugation, EVs were isolated from CAFO dust extracts, and were quantified and partially characterized. Here, we investigated the role of the n-3 PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as a component of n-6 to n-3 PUFA mixtures used to recapitulate physiologically relevant dietary ratios in the resolution of inflammatory injury caused by exposure to EVs carried by agricultural organic dust in vitro. Primary human bronchial epithelial cells, fibroblasts and monocyte-derived macrophages were exposed to EVs isolated from swine CAFO dust. Cells were treated with mixtures of n-6 and n-3 PUFA during recovery from the EV-induced injury. CAFO dust extract (DE) was found to contain EVs that contributed significantly to the overall consequences of exposure to complete DE. DHA-rich PUFA ratios inhibited DE-derived EV-induced proinflammatory cytokine release dose-dependently. DHA-rich PUFA ratios also reversed the damaging effects of EVs on recellularization of lung matrix scaffolds, accelerated wound healing, and stimulated the release of pro-resolution mediators. These results underscore the importance of n-3 PUFA as anti-inflammatory compounds during recovery from EV-laden environmental dust exposure in the context of cellular responses in vitro, warranting future translational studies.
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