The effect of endocannabinoid-PUFA conjugates on vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation

Robert Gordon University

Past award

Student: Iqra Sarwar : Robert Gordon University

Year Award Started: 2016

The development of arterial plaques leads to a risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), from which there were 73,680 reported deaths in the UK in 2014 (7,541 in Scotland). High levels of blood cholesterol encourage fat accumulation, invasion of inflammatory cells and growth of smooth muscle cells in the artery wall.  Intake of fish-oil derived omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA’s) helps to reduce blood cholesterol, but there is evidence they also interfere with these cellular events, one possible mechanism involving the PUFA combining (conjugating) with chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids (EC), which have been shown to inhibit smooth muscle cell growth. These conjugates have been reported to act at the same receptor as the EC’s, with greater potency. This project will measure the effects of two PUFA’s (EPA and DHA), and their EC conjugates, on cell proliferation in cultured smooth muscle cells, which could identify novel forms of dietary supplement to reduce cardiovascular risk.


Professor Cherry Wainwright
Faculty of Health & Social Care