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Clin Nutr. 2012 Oct;31(5):721-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.03.002. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Conjugated linoleic acid modulates immune responses in patients with mild to moderately active Crohn's disease.

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Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory and Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA.



Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has demonstrated efficacy as an immune modulator and anti-inflammatory compound in mouse and pig models of colitis. We investigated the immunoregulatory efficacy of CLA in patients with mild to moderate Crohn's disease (CD).


Thirteen patients with mild to moderately active CD were enrolled in an open-label study of CLA (6 g/d orally) for 12 weeks. Peripheral blood was collected at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks after treatment initiation for isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells for functional analyses of lymphoproliferation and cytokine production. Disease activity was calculated using the CD activity index (CDAI) and quality of life was assessed using the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ).


CLA significantly suppressed the ability of peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets to produce IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-17 and lymphoproliferation at week 12. There was a statistically significant drop in CDAI from 245 to 187 (P = 0.013) and increase in IBDQ from 141 to 165 (P = 0.017) on week 12.


Oral CLA administration was well tolerated and suppressed the ability of peripheral blood T cells to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, decreased disease activity and increased the quality of life of patients with CD.

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