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PLoS One. 2016 May 11;11(5):e0155099. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155099. eCollection 2016.

Six Tissue Transcriptomics Reveals Specific Immune Suppression in Spleen by Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids.

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Dept. of Physiology, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Dept. of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Comparative Genomics Group, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States of America.
Dept. of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are suggested to modulate immune function, but the effects of dietary fatty acids composition on gene expression patterns in immune organs have not been fully characterized. In the current study we investigated how dietary fatty acids composition affects the total transcriptome profile, and especially, immune related genes in two immune organs, spleen (SPL) and bone marrow cells (BMC). Four tissues with metabolic function, skeletal muscle (SKM), white adipose tissue (WAT), brown adipose tissue (BAT), and liver (LIV), were investigated as a comparison. Following 8 weeks on low fat diet (LFD), high fat diet (HFD) rich in saturated fatty acids (HFD-S), or HFD rich in PUFA (HFD-P), tissue transcriptomics were analyzed by microarray and metabolic health assessed by fasting blood glucose level, HOMA-IR index, oral glucose tolerance test as well as quantification of crown-like structures in WAT. HFD-P corrected the metabolic phenotype induced by HFD-S. Interestingly, SKM and BMC were relatively inert to the diets, whereas the two adipose tissues (WAT and BAT) were mainly affected by HFD per se (both HFD-S and HFD-P). In particular, WAT gene expression was driven closer to that of the immune organs SPL and BMC by HFDs. The LIV exhibited different responses to both of the HFDs. Surprisingly, the spleen showed a major response to HFD-P (82 genes differed from LFD, mostly immune genes), while it was not affected at all by HFD-S (0 genes differed from LFD). In conclusion, the quantity and composition of dietary fatty acids affected the transcriptome in distinct manners in different organs. Remarkably, dietary PUFA, but not saturated fat, prompted a specific regulation of immune related genes in the spleen, opening the possibility that PUFA can regulate immune function by influencing gene expression in this organ.

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