Harold Aukema is a full professor in the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba, a Principal Investigator at the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine at the St Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre, an Investigator with the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals and a Scientist with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. His research programs, funded by CIHR and NSERC, focus on the effects of diet on health and kidney disease and the physiologic and metabolic basis of dietary recommendations for fatty acids and proteins. He has established a program in oxylipin analysis and studies dietary and sex effects on these lipid mediators.
Oxylipins are hormone-like lipids that mediate a plethora of biological effects in normal physiology and in disease. The most well-known and studied of these bioactive lipids are the eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, etc.) which are produced by the enzymatic oxygenation of arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. However, other omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids also are converted similar products (e.g. octadecanoids, docosanoids). All of these are collectively referred to as oxylipins, and since they are derived from fatty acids, their composition can be altered by dietary intake. This presentation will first describe how oxylipins are made and how that can be altered by diet. Secondly, after a brief discussion of general functions, their roles in inflammation will be explored, focusing on novel functions currently being reported.