The Role of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Osteoarthritis: Insights from a Mendelian Randomization Study

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Nutrients. 2023 Nov 15;15(22):4787. doi: 10.3390/nu15224787.

ABSTRACT

The prior observational research on the impact of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation on osteoarthritis (OA) patients had yielded inclusive outcomes. This study utilized the Mendelian randomization (MR) approach to explore potential causal relationships between PUFAs and OA. The MR study was performed using GWAS summary statistics for PUFAs, encompassing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and for knee OA (KOA) and hip OA (HOA). The primary inverse-variance-weighted (IVW) method and two supplementary MR approaches were used to establish robust causality. Heterogeneity and horizontal pleiotropy were assessed using Cochrane’s Q and MR-Egger intercept tests. Additionally, a range of sensitivity analyses were conducted to strengthen the precision and reliability of the results. The IVW method indicated a potential genetic association between omega-3 fatty acids and KOA risk (odd ratio (OR) = 0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.89-1.00, p = 0.048). No significant correlation was found between omega-3 levels and HOA. Moreover, genetically predicted higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids were associated with a decreased risk of KOA (OR = 0. 93, 95% CI: 0.86-1.00, p = 0.041) and HOA (OR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.82-0.96; p = 0.003). The MR-Egger intercept evaluation showed no horizontal pleiotropy affecting the MR analysis (all p > 0.05). Our findings supported the causal relationship between PUFAs and OA susceptibility and offered a novel insight that high omega-6 fatty acids may reduce the risk of KOA and HOA. These results underscore the importance of maintaining optimal levels of PUFAs, particularly omega-6 fatty acids, in individuals with a genetic predisposition to OA. Future research is necessary to validate these findings and elucidate the underlying mechanisms involved.

PMID:38004181 | PMC:PMC10674676 | DOI:10.3390/nu15224787

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