Low levels of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids mimic the effects of fish oil upon rat lymphocytes.

Abstract:

:Fish oil is rich in the long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); typically these fatty acids constitute 20 to 25 g/100 g total fatty acids in fish oil. Feeding rodents diets rich in fish oil has been shown to decrease lymphocyte proliferation and natural killer cell activity. It is not known what level of EPA + DHA is required in the diet to exert these effects. This question was addressed in the current study. Weanling rats were fed on high fat (178 g/kg) diets which contained 4.4 g alpha-linolenic acid (control) or 4.4 g EPA + DHA (4.4 EPA + DHA) or 6.6 g EPA + DHA (6.6 EPA + DHA)/100 g total fatty acids. The n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio was maintained at approximately 7. The fatty acid compositions of the serum and of spleen leukocytes were markedly influenced by that of the diet. Spleen lymphocyte proliferation in response to concanavalin A, spleen natural killer cell activity and PGE2 production by spleen leukocytes were reduced by feeding the EPA + DHA diets compared with feeding the control diet; the 4.4 and 6.6 EPA + DHA diets caused very similar reductions. The 4.4 EPA + DHA diet reduced popliteal lymph node weight following a localised graft versus host response; this response was not investigated in rats fed the 6.6 EPA + DHA diet. The reductions in lymphocyte functions and in the in vivo graft versus host response caused by the EPA + DHA diets were similar to those previously reported following the feeding of diets rich in fish oil. Thus, this study shows that diets containing relatively low levels of EPA + DHA (20 to 25% of the level found in fish oil) exert immunomodulatory effects. Furthermore, this study suggests that the maximal effect of EPA + DHA is exerted when these fatty acids constitute a level of less than or equal to 4.4 g/100 g total dietary fatty acids.

journal_name

Life Sci

journal_title

Life sciences

authors

Peterson LD,Thies F,Sanderson P,Newsholme EA,Calder PC

doi

10.1016/s0024-3205(98)00199-4

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1998-01-01 00:00:00

pages

2209-17

issue

24

eissn

0024-3205

issn

1879-0631

pii

S0024320598001994

journal_volume

62

pub_type

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