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Grant Abstract: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Risk

Grant Number: 7R13HL066131-02
PI Name: William Harris
Project Title: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Risk

Abstract: DESCRIPTION: We wish to convene an international workshop entitled, "Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk." The workshop would be held in Bethesda, MD on November 30-December 2, 2000. The long-chain, marine omega-3 fatty acids [primarily eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] have recently been shown to reduce total mortality by 20 percent in patients with preexisting cardiovascular (CV) disease. This workshop will 1) discuss and evaluate the current scientific evidence regarding the potential role of omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 FAs) in reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in diabetic patients, 2) assess the timeliness of undertaking a definitive clinical trial to determine whether omega-3 FAs reduce risk for CVD in diabetic patients, and 3) if it is deemed timely to initiate such a trial, outline a proper study design; if not, determine what additional research is needed. The topics to be covered will include an evaluation of the effects of diabetes on CV disease risk; a review of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms responsible for the effects of omega-3 FAs in diabetic patients (e.g., effects on gene expression, glucose transporters, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors); a discussion of the effects of omega-3 FAs on several CV risk factors (e.g., lipid and lipoproteins, thrombosis, endothelial function, blood pressure, cardiac function, susceptibility to arrhythmias, heart rate variability, inflammation and adhesion molecule expression); and an evaluation of the safety of omega-3 FAs in diabetes. We will also review unpublished CV outcomes data from the diabetic sub-population in a recently completed randomized clinical trial using omega-3 FAs. The workshop will end with extensive discussions, which will result in well-reasoned recommendations for both clinical implementation (if any) and future research. In particular, we will address the question of the timeliness of instituting a large-scale, randomized, clinical trial to evaluate the preventive potential of omega-3 FAs in diabetes. This will be the first conference to specifically focus on omega-3 fatty acids, diabetes, and CV disease, and we plan on publishing its proceedings in a diabetes journal. The conclusions and recommendations of the workshop will be communicated to public and private funding agencies.

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