Relation between the fatty acid composition of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and measures of immune cell function in healthy, free-living subjects aged 25-72 y.Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 May; 77(5):1278-86.AJ
There is little information about the relation between the fatty acid composition of human immune cells and the function of those cells over the habitual range of fatty acid intakes.
The objective of the study was to determine the relation between the fatty acid composition of human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) phospholipids and the functions of human immune cells.
One hundred fifty healthy adult subjects provided a fasting blood sample. The phagocytic and oxidative burst activities of monocytes and neutrophils were measured in whole blood. PBMCs were isolated and used to measure lymphocyte proliferation in response to the T cell mitogen concanavalin A and the production of cytokines in response to concanavalin A or bacterial lipopolysaccharide. The fatty acid composition of plasma and PBMC phospholipids was determined.
Wide variations in fatty acid composition of PBMC phospholipids and immune cell functions were identified among the subjects. The proportions of total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), of total n-6 and n-3 PUFAs, and of several individual PUFAs in PBMC phospholipids were positively correlated with phagocytosis by neutrophils and monocytes, neutrophil oxidative burst, lymphocyte proliferation, and interferon gamma production. The ratios of saturated fatty acids to PUFAs and of n-6 to n-3 PUFAs were negatively correlated with these same immune functions. The relation of PBMC fatty acid composition to monocyte oxidative burst was the reverse of its relation to monocyte phagocytosis and neutrophil oxidative burst.
Variations in the fatty acid composition of PBMC phospholipids account for some of the variability in immune cell functions among healthy adults.