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Borage and Echium Seed Oils for Asthma (Borage)

This study has been completed.
Wake Forest University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Joshua Boyce, Brigham and Women's Hospital Identifier:
First received: March 9, 2012
Last updated: January 4, 2016
Last verified: January 2016
This study plans to look at whether borage and echium seed oils (natural oils from two plants) help decrease asthma symptoms and affect cells involved in inflammation. The investigators also want to look at how these plant oils decrease the generation of inflammatory cells in people with asthma.

Condition Intervention Phase
Asthma Drug: Borage and Echium Seed Oils Drug: Corn oil pills Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Treatment of Bronchial Asthma With Borage and Echium Seed Oils

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Joshua Boyce, Brigham and Women's Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Cellular changes that occur with borage and echium seed oil supplementation [ Time Frame: Assessed at 2, 8, 14, and 20 weeks ]
    Primary outcome measures will be changes in the generation of LTB4 by neutrophils; changes in LTC4 production by basophils; changes in the production of LTB4 and LTC4 by monocytes; changes in expression levels of cPLA2, 5-LO, FLAP, LTC4S, and LTA4H by these cells; changes in the production of cytokines by basophils and monocytes and the expression and function of PI-3 kinaisoforms (Aim 1); changes in the generation of PGE1 vs. PGE2 and thromboxane and PPARγ expression by monocytes (Aim 2).

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Measure of fatty acid levels in blood [ Time Frame: Assessed at 2, 8, 14, and 20 weeks ]
    Secondary outcome measures include changes in concentrations of essential fatty acids in whole blood (as a measure of compliance).

  • Asthma Control [ Time Frame: Assessed at 0, 2, 5, 8, 14, 17, and 20 weeks ]
    Changes in asthma control will be assessed via the Asthma Control Questionnaire at each visit.

  • Lung Function [ Time Frame: Assessed at 0, 2, 5, 8, 14, 17, and 20 weeks ]
    Changes in lung function will be assessed via spirometry at each visit.

  • Genotype specific variation in response to borage and echium oils [ Time Frame: At 2 weeks ]
    All individuals will be genotyped at the LTC4S locus. At the end of the study, the investigators will use the information to determine whether the individuals with at least one copy of the C variant of LTC4S display higher levels of lung function while on borage/echium than on placebo and whether their levels of LTC4S protein and mRNA expression in CD14+ monocytes and peripheral blood eosinophils are higher than in individuals with two A alleles.

Enrollment: 72
Study Start Date: February 2013
Study Completion Date: May 2015
Primary Completion Date: May 2015 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Active Borage and Echium Seed Oils
Borage and echium seed oils will be taken for six weeks.
Drug: Borage and Echium Seed Oils
4.0 g/day borage seed oil and 7.0 g/day echium seed oil. Pills will be taken three times per day for six weeks.
Placebo Comparator: Corn oil pills
Corn oil pills will be taken for six weeks.
Drug: Corn oil pills
Corn oils pills will be taken three times per day for six weeks.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Male or female 18 years to 65 years of age
  2. Stable asthma with FEV1 of greater than 50% of predicted but less than 90% of predicted or less than 90% of known best and an asthma control questionnaire(ACQ) < 1.5.
  3. Improvement in FEV1 > 12% after administration of a beta-2 agonist.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Pregnant or nursing
  2. Smoking history of > 10 pack years or active smoking within the past year.
  3. Due to possible effects on LT biosynthesis, use of the following asthma treatments within the preceding month will be exclusion criteria:

    • LT modifying drugs (zileuton, montelukast, zafirlukast)
    • theophylline
    • oral steroids
    • dietary supplements with fatty acids or other products that may interfere with LT generation.
  4. Treatment within the previous three months with omalizumab (monoclonal antibody directed against IgE)
  5. Subjects will not be permitted to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the week prior to any measurements of ex vivo LT generation because of their effects on LT biosynthesis via inhibition of prostaglandin generation.
  6. A history of aspirin-sensitive asthma will be an exclusion criterion as the effects of GLA/SDA on prostanoid biosynthesis have not been adequately elucidated.
  7. Significant abnormalities in CBC, differential white cell count, renal function, and liver function, or urinalysis.
  8. No subjects will have any serious co-morbid medical condition.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01560988

United States, Massachusetts
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115
Sponsors and Collaborators
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Wake Forest University
Principal Investigator: Joshua Boyce, MD Brigham and Women's Hospital
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Joshua Boyce, Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital Identifier: NCT01560988     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2010p002041
Study First Received: March 9, 2012
Last Updated: January 4, 2016

Keywords provided by Joshua Boyce, Brigham and Women's Hospital:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Bronchial Diseases
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Lung Diseases, Obstructive
Lung Diseases
Respiratory Hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity, Immediate
Immune System Diseases processed this record on June 28, 2017