Research Article

Antithrombotic potential of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid in man.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 03 December 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1441
  1. P B Kernoff,
  2. A L Willis,
  3. K J Stone,
  4. J A Davies,
  5. G P McNicol


    The effects of orally ingested dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DHLA), the natural biosynthetic precursor of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), were assessed in human volunteers. Single doses of DHLA (0.1--2g) increased the proportion of DHLA relative to arachidonic acid in plasma and platelets and also increased the ex-vivo capacity of platelets to produce PGE1 and PGE2. More pronounced effects were observed during sustained treatment (five days to four weeks) when DHLA also accumulated in red cell membranes. These biochemical changes were accompanied by potentially antithrombotic changes in haemostatic function. The most common effect, which was consistently detected after 0.1-g single doses of DHLA or its methyl ester, was a decrease in plasma heparin-neutralising activity. Inhibition of platelet aggregation induced by adenosine diphosphate was also detected, though this was generally less pronounced. Sustained treatment in one subject also produced definite inhibition of ristocetin-induced platelet aggregation. There was only one possible adverse effect--a transient cough in a subject with a history of asthma. DHLA therefore seems to have considerable potential as an agent for preventing and treating human thromboembolic disease.