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Effects of n-3 fatty acids on growth and survival of J774 macrophages.

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CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, Adelaide, SA, Australia.


To further understand potential mechanisms underlying the protective effects of eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) against atherosclerosis, J774 macrophages were used to explore cellular responses to growth in the presence of PUFA in vitro. Clonogenic assays indicated that 15 microg/ml of EPA killed over 90% of J774 populations. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) was more cytotoxic than either EPA or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA was shown to be elongated to DPA. Cytotoxicity induced by EPA was not inhibited by the presence of alpha-tocopherol (a-toc) in the medium. Immunological screening for caspase enzymes and microscopic examination indicated that apoptosis was not the major cause of cell death. Proliferation assays demonstrated that total cell numbers of EPA-treated cells were not significantly different to control cells. Increasing does of EPA were correlated with increasing levels of intracellular malondialdehyde (MDA). These observations suggest that EPA may influence the growth parameters of macrophages whilst inducing moderately elevated levels of oxidative stress.

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