Washington: Researchers have shown that the combination of statins and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid, may potentially reduce cardiovascular risk.
R. Preston Mason, PhD, of BWH's Department of Medicine and lead author of the study, said they know that endothelial cell dysfunction is emerging as an early and important predictor of cardiovascular disease and plays an essential role in plaque development.
He said that treatments that provide beneficial effects on endothelial function could have very important implications for a patient population at high risk for heart disease and that they found that a combination of statins and EPA omega-3 fatty acid, or fish oil, had beneficial effects on endothelial cells and function.
Using human tissue, researchers analyzed whether EPA could enhance the benefits of statins on endothelial cells. Blood vessels from human umbilical vein cells were collected from healthy donors and then subjected to disease-like conditions in the laboratory using oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL).
Using nanotechnology approaches, researchers measured the release of molecules from the endothelial cells including nitric oxide, an essential regulator of blood vessel health.
The researchers found that the combination of EPA and a statin was more than 50 percent better than the statin alone in reversing endothelial damage.