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Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Jun;41(6):905-15.

Impact of high flaxseed diet on mitogen-induced proliferation, IL-2 production, cell subsets and fatty acid composition of spleen cells from pregnant and F1 generation Sprague-Dawley rats.

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  • 1US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 8301 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, MD 20708, USA.


Flaxseed (FS) being rich in alpha-linolenic acid may alter the immune parameters. Therefore, we assessed the impact of FS and defatted flaxseed meal (FLM) on fatty acid composition, cell subsets, proliferation and IL-2 production by splenic lymphocytes. Pregnant female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed diets containing 0% FS and FLM, 20 or 40% FS, 13 or 26% FLM during gestation or gestation, lactation and 8 week post-weaning period. FS and FLM resulted in up to 8.3 fold and 4.6 fold increase in splenic ALA among pregnant rats, 4.5 fold and 1.2 fold increase in splenic ALA among F(1) generation rats. Splenic linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) were 18 and 40% lower in 40% FS fed pregnant rats, and AA was 15% lower in all the other groups. Among F(1) rats, splenic LA and AA were 16 and 48% lower in 40% FS group, and AA was 18% lower in 20% FS and 26% FLM groups. Concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin mediated proliferation of spleen cells were 60 and 52% lower in 40% FS fed pregnant and F(1) generation rats, respectively. No significant changes were observed in the cell subsets or IL-2 production by splenic cells from different groups.

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