The Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention is a new version of a P50 at Wake Forest University Health Sciences that has been continuously funded since 2005. Research over the past 50 years has shown that both systemic and localized inflammation play an important role in the onset and progression of destructive diseases such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome/diabetes and allergic asthma. The overall goal of this Center is to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which botanical oils prevent or impact these diseases with a particular focus on immunity and inflammation. The central hypothesis of the Center is that medium chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in botanical oils and their metabolites impact several key mechanisms (including altering pro-and anti-inflammatory mediator production and blocking inflammatory gene expression) that inhibit inflammatory processes. A secondary hypothesis is that that the metabolism and effectiveness of PUFA-based botanical dietary supplements is strongly associated with genetic polymorphisms in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS 1-3) cluster on chromosome 11 in a region known as 11q12-q13. This chromosomal region has repeatedly been linked to pro-inflammatory conditions. This Center brings together investigators from five internationally-recognized lipid groups and a world-renowned human genomics center to examine cellular and molecular mechanisms by which PUFAs within botanical oils impact human health. Selected botanical oils and combinations (including olive, flax seed, borage seed and echium seed oils) found in supplements are used to test key hypotheses. Projects 1 and 2 examine the mechanisms leading to the pleiotropic effects of botanical PUFAs on macrophage/ monocyte activation, inflammatory states and eicosanoid generation related to atherosclerosis and asthmatic inflammation, respectively. Project 3 examines the critical role genetic variations in the FADS cluster plays in determining PUFA levels and investigates how specific variations in that cluster are associated with the effectiveness of PUFA-based botanicals supplements in metabolic syndrome/diabetes. The interactive and synergistic Projects and Cores have a strong, contemporary and translational scientific basis and should allow this scientific team to identify additional mechanisms and identify human individuals and populations that are most likely to be affected by PUFA- based botanical supplements.
Thirty-eight percent of adult Americans are using complementary and alternative medicine modalities. The most commonly used modalities are natural products enriched with PUFAs (37 % of natural products). The key purpose of this Center is determine the molecular mechanisms by which medium chain PUFAs in botanical oils prevent of complex diseases such as CVD, asthma or metabolic syndrome and to determine the populations where they are most likely to be effective.
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