Remodelling of primary human CD4+ T cell plasma membrane order by n-3 PUFA. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cell membrane fatty acids influence fundamental properties of the plasma membrane, including membrane fluidity, protein functionality, and lipid raft signalling. Evidence suggests that dietary n-3 PUFA may target the plasma membrane of immune cells by altering plasma membrane lipid dynamics, thereby regulating the attenuation of immune cell activation and suppression of inflammation. As lipid-based immunotherapy might be a promising new clinical strategy for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, we conducted in vitro and in vivo experiments to examine the effects of n-3 PUFA on CD4+ T cell membrane order, mitochondrial bioenergetics and lymphoproliferation. n-3 PUFA were incorporated into human primary CD4+ T cells phospholipids in vitro in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in a reduction in whole cell membrane order, oxidative phosphorylation and proliferation. At higher doses, n-3 PUFA induced unique phase separation in T cell-derived giant plasma membrane vesicles. Similarly, in a short-term human pilot study, supplementation of fish oil (4 g n-3 PUFA/d) for 6 weeks in healthy subjects significantly elevated EPA (20 : 5n-3) levels in CD4+ T cell membrane phospholipids, and reduced membrane lipid order. These results demonstrate that the dynamic reshaping of human CD4+ T cell plasma membrane organisation by n-3 PUFA may modulate down-stream clonal expansion.

published proceedings

  • Br J Nutr

author list (cited authors)

  • Fan, Y., Fuentes, N. R., Hou, T. Y., Barhoumi, R., Li, X. C., Deutz, N., ... Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Fan, Yang-Yi||Fuentes, Natividad R||Hou, Tim Y||Barhoumi, Rola||Li, Xian C||Deutz, Nicolaas EP||Engelen, Marielle PKJ||McMurray, David N||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • January 2018