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Grant Abstract

Grant Number: 1P50AT002782-01
Project Title: The Wake Forest and Harvard Center for Botanical Lipids

Abstract: Within the next two decades, more than one in three US citizens will suffer from an inflammatory disease such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes, lupus, Crohn's disease, eczema or heart disease. These disturbing trends have created a generation of sufferers who are seeking new ways to manage their debilitating diseases. Consequently, the use of complementary/alternative medicine has dramatically increased in the developed world and especially in Western countries such as the United States. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have emerged as a leading group of functional additives in the dietary supplement marketplace. The Wake Forest and Harvard Center for Botanical Lipids brings together a group of outstanding investigators from three internationally-recognized lipid groups to examine the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action and clinical potential of botanical fatty acid mixtures currently sold as dietary supplements with a focus on the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and asthma. Each project will examine health effects of adding selected botanical PUFAs from the same metabolic pathway to mammalian diets. The first two projects will use a mouse model of atherosclerosis to examine mechanisms by which this disease process is ameliorated with flaxseed oil and echium oil. Project 3 examines in human subjects the antiinflammatory actions of botanical PUFAs found in borage and echium oils, with a focus on the generation of leukotrienes; leukotrienes have a proven role in asthma and there is emerging data for their role in atherosclerosis. Project 4 focuses on borage/echium oil combinations and whether these supplements can be used to treat asthma in humans. These interactive and synergistic studies have a strong scientific basis and are likely to provide new understanding regarding the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis and asthma with botanical oils.

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