Inhibitory effects of omega-3 fatty acids on injury-induced epidermal growth factor receptor transactivation contribute to delayed wound healing.
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Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated signaling is required for optimal intestinal wound healing. Since n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alter EGFR signaling and suppress downstream activation of key signaling pathways, we hypothesized that DHA would be detrimental to the process of intestinal wound healing. Using a mouse immortalized colonocyte model, DHA uniquely reduced EGFR ligand-induced receptor activation, whereas DHA and its metabolic precursor eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) reduced wound-induced EGFR transactivation compared with control (no fatty acid or linoleic acid). Under wounding conditions, the suppression of EGFR activation was associated with a reduction in downstream activation of cytoskeletal remodeling proteins (PLC1, Rac1, and Cdc42). Subsequently, DHA and EPA reduced cell migration in response to wounding. Mice were fed a corn oil-, DHA-, or EPA-enriched diet prior to intestinal wounding (2.5% dextran sodium sulfate for 5 days followed by termination after 0, 3, or 6 days of recovery). Mortality was increased in EPA-fed mice and colonic histological injury scores were increased in EPA- and DHA-fed mice compared with corn oil-fed (control) mice. Although kinetics of colonic EGFR activation and downstream signaling (PLC1, Rac1, and Cdc42) were delayed by both n-3 PUFA, colonic repair was increased in EPA- relative to DHA-fed mice. These results indicate that, during the early response to intestinal wounding, DHA and EPA uniquely delay the activation of key wound-healing processes in the colon. This effect is mediated, at least in part, via suppression of EGFR-mediated signaling and downstream cytoskeletal remodeling.