In a recent article, a group of researchers investigated the question whether the supplementation of dietary n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LCPUFA) would modify an experimentally induces synovitis (the medical term for inflammation of the synovial membrane. This membrane lines joints that possess cavities, known as synovial joints. The condition is usually painful.) 12 mature, non-pregnant mares were assigned to either a control diet or an n-3 LCPUFA enriched diet. Blood and synovial fluid samples were collected at intervals for the first 90 days. On day 91, joint inflammation was induced in the mares and synovial fluid samples taken at 0, 4, 8 and 24 hours later and analyzed for inflammatory mediators (prostaglandin, metalloproteinase) as well as cytology (the study of the microscopic appearance of cells, especially for the diagnosis of abnormalities and malignancies). Samples of the synovial membrane and cartilage were also collected and analyzed. The results showed an increase of EPA and DHA in the blood and synovial fluid of the supplemented group and a decrease in the expression of an inflammatory protein (disintegrin) in the synovial membrane and cartilage samples of the supplemented group. While the researchers acknowledge that more research is needed, the results were encouraging enough to justify continuation of the research into the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a component of joint therapy.
Scientific Article: Ross-Jones TN, et. al. “Influence of an n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched diet on experimentally induced synovitis in horses”. J Anim Physio Anim Nutr (Beri) 2015 Jul 20. doi: 10.111/jpn. 12359.
Companion Article: Oke, Stacey DVM, MSc “Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Benefit Horses With Osteoarthritis” theHorse.com, Nov 4, 2015.