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J Lipid Res. 2010 Jun;51(6):1284-97. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M000851. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

n-3 PUFA improves fatty acid composition, prevents palmitate-induced apoptosis, and differentially modifies B cell cytokine secretion in vitro and ex vivo.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, 600 Moye Blvd, Brody 5S-18, Greenville, NC 27834, USA.


n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) modify T-cell activation, in part by remodeling lipid composition; however, the relationship between n-3 PUFA and B-cell activation is unknown. Here we tested this relationship in vitro and ex vivo by measuring upregulation of B-cell surface molecules, the percentage of cells activated, and cytokine secreted in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activation. In vitro, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improved the membrane n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio, and DHA lowered interleukin (IL)-6 secretion; overall, n-3 PUFAs did not suppress B-cell activation compared with BSA, oleate, or elaidate treatment. Palmitate treatment suppressed the percentage of B cells activated through lipoapoptosis, which was differentially prevented by cosupplementing cells with MUFAs and PUFAs. Ex vivo, we tested the hypothesis with mice fed a control or high-fat saturated, hydrogenated, MUFA or n-3 PUFA diets. n-3 PUFAs had no effect on the percentage of B cells activated. Unexpectedly, the n-3 PUFA diet increased B-cell CD69 surface expression, IL-6 and IFNgamma secretion, and it significantly increased body weight gain. Overall, we propose that changes in lipid composition with n-3 PUFA and suppression of lymphocyte activation is not universal. The study highlights that high-fat n-3 PUFA diets can promote pro-inflammatory responses, at least from one cell type.

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