Listed in Issue 276


BAKKER and COLLEAGUES, 1 Northwest Clinics Alkmaar, The Netherlands; 2 University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands set out to investigate peri-operative erythrocyte function and effects of omega-3 fatty acids.


An adequate erythrocyte function is vital for tissue oxygenation and wound healing. The erythrocyte membrane phospholipid composition plays an important role in erythrocyte function and administration of omega-3 fatty acids may provide a means to improve it.


Forty-four patients undergoing elective laparoscopic colon resection for non-metastasized cancer were randomized between intravenous omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) or placebo (saline). Peri-operative blood samples were analyzed with a Lorrca MaxSIS Ektacytometer and erythrocyte membrane phospholipids were determined with gas chromatography.


Patient and operation characteristics were equal between groups. There was a significant increase in erythrocyte membrane eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) but not docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the n-PUFA group. There were no significant differences in erythrocyte deformability but the aggregation index (AI) was significantly lower and the aggregation half time (T½) was significantly higher in the n-3 PUFA group.


This study confirms rapid changes in erythrocyte membrane phospholipid composition after administration of intravenous n-3 PUFAs. Erythrocyte deformability parameters were not affected but erythrocyte aggregability was decreased in the n-3 PUFA group. Further investigation is necessary to gain more insights in the effects of n-3 PUFA and the postoperative inflammatory response on erythrocyte function.


Nathalie Bakker  1 , Marianne Schoor l  1 , Eline Stoutjesdijk  2 , Alexander P J Houdijk  1. Erythrocyte deformability and aggregability in patients undergoing colon cancer surgery and effects of two infusions with omega-3 fatty acids. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc; 74(3):287-297. doi: 10.3233/CH-190687.  2020.

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