• cultured human mast cells;
  • cyclo-oxygenase-2;
  • eicosapentaenoic acid;
  • gas chomatography/mass spectrometry/selected ion monitoring (GC/MS/SIM);
  • prostaglandin D2


Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is catalysed by cyclo-oxygenase (COX), as is arachidonic acid, and is a competitive inhibitor of arachidonate metabolism.


We examined the effect of EPA on prostaglandin (PG) D2 generation in the cultured human mast cells with IgE-anti-IgE challenge incubation.


Cultured human mast cells were incubated with EPA (1 μmol/L) for 20 h, then challenged with anti-IgE incubation after treatment with IgE. At the same time, COX inhibitors were tested to identify COX-1 and COX-2 activity. PGD2 synthetic activity was also assayed in a cell-free homogenate of cultured mast cells with COX inhibitors and EPA. Histamine in the culture medium and in cells was assayed with the HPLC-fluorescent method. PGD2 and PGD3 were assayed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the stable isotope dilution method.


Although EPA incubation did not affect histamine release by cultured human mast cells in response to IgE-anti-IgE challenge incubation, it did decrease PGD2 generation by inhibiting the COX-2 pathway. In contrast, in the cell-free homogenate of cultured human mast cells, EPA inhibited both COX-1 and COX-2 activities.


Pre-incubation with EPA primarily affects the COX-2 pathway in cultured human mast cells and reduces PGD2 generation in response to IgE-anti-IgE challenge incubation. These findings suggest that COX-1 and COX-2 have different substrate flow systems in mast cells. They also suggest that endogenous EPA diet supplementation would reduce PGD2 production and could serve as an anti-inflammatory substrate in human mast cells.