Regulatory activity of polyunsaturated fatty acids in T-cell signaling. Academic Article uri icon


  • n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are considered to be authentic immunosuppressors and appear to exert beneficial effects with respect to certain immune-mediated diseases. In addition to promoting T-helper 1 (Th1) cell to T-helper 2 (Th2) cell effector T-cell differentiation, n-3 PUFA may also exert anti-inflammatory actions by inducing apoptosis in Th1 cells. With respect to mechanisms of action, effects range from the modulation of membrane receptors to gene transcription via perturbation of a number of second messenger cascades. In this review, the putative targets of anti-inflammatory n-3 PUFA, activated during early and late events of T-cell activation will be discussed. Studies have demonstrated that these fatty acids alter plasma membrane micro-organization (lipid rafts) at the immunological synapse, the site where T-cells and antigen-presenting cells (APC) form a physical contact for antigen initiated T-cell signaling. In addition, the production of diacylglycerol and the activation of different isoforms of protein kinase C (PKC), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), calcium signaling, and nuclear translocation/activation of transcriptional factors, can be modulated by n-3 PUFA. Advantages and limitations of diverse methodologies to study the membrane lipid raft hypothesis, as well as apparent contradictions regarding the effect of n-3 PUFA on lipid rafts will be critically presented.

published proceedings

  • Prog Lipid Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, W., Khan, N. A., McMurray, D. N., Prior, I. A., Wang, N., & Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 114

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Wooki||Khan, Naim A||McMurray, David N||Prior, Ian A||Wang, Naisyin||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • July 2010