Jul 10, 2003

Fatty acids, the immune response, and autoimmunity: a question of n-6 essentiality and the balance between n-6 and n-3

Lipids
Laurence S Harbige

Abstract

The essentiality of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is described in relation to a thymus/thymocyte accretion of arachidonic acid (20:4n-6, AA) in early development, and the high requirement of lymphoid and other cells of the immune system for AA and linoleic acid (1 8:2n-6, LA) for membrane phospholipids. Low n-6 PUFA intakes enhance whereas high intakes decrease certain immune functions. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies for a role of AA metabolites in immune cell development and functions shows that they can limit or regulate cellular immune reactions and can induce deviation toward a T helper (Th)2-like immune response. In contrast to the effects of the oxidative metabolites of AA, the longer-chain n-6 PUFA produced by gamma-linolenic acid (18:3n-6, GLA) feeding decreases the Th2 cytokine and immunoglobulin (Ig)G1 antibody response. The n-6 PUFA, GLA, dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (20:3n-6, DHLA) and AA, and certain oxidative metabolites of AA can also induce T-regulatory cell activity, e.g., transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-producing T cells; GLA feeding studies also demonstrate reduced proinflammatory interleukin (IL)-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production. Low intakes of long-chain n-3 fatty...Continue Reading

  • References124
  • Citations115

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Recombinant Transforming Growth Factor
Interleukins
Immune Response
Immune System
Autoantibodies
T-Lymphocyte
Exertion
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
CD4+ CD25+ Regulatory T Cells
Immunoglobulin Activity

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