n-3 PUFAs reduce T-helper 17 cell differentiation by decreasing responsiveness to interleukin-6 in isolated mouse splenic CD4 T cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cluster of differentiation 4(+) (CD4(+)) effector T-cell subsets [e.g., T-helper (Th) 1 and Th17] are implicated in autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Interleukin (IL)-6 is a pleiotropic cytokine that induces Th17 polarization via signaling through the membrane-bound transducer glycoprotein 130 (GP130). Previously, we demonstrated that n-3 (-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduce CD4(+) T-cell activation and differentiation into pathogenic Th17 cells by 25-30%. Here we report that n-3 PUFAs alter the response of CD4(+) T cells to IL-6 in a lipid raft membrane-dependent manner. Naive splenic CD4(+) T cells from fat-1 transgenic mice exhibited 30% lower surface expression of the IL-6 receptor. This membrane-bound receptor is known to be shed during cellular activation, but the release of soluble IL-6 receptor after treatment with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 was not changed in the CD4(+) T cells from fat-1 mice, suggesting that the decrease in surface expression was not due to ectodomain release. We observed a significant 20% decrease in the association of GP130 with lipid rafts in activated fat-1 CD4(+) T cells and a 35% reduction in GP130 homodimerization, an obligate requirement for downstream signaling. The phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), a downstream target of IL-6-dependent signaling, was also decreased by 30% in response to exogenous IL-6 in fat-1 CD4(+) T cells. Our results suggest that n-3 PUFAs suppress Th17 cell differentiation in part by reducing membrane raft-dependent responsiveness to IL-6, an essential polarizing cytokine.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr

author list (cited authors)

  • Allen, M. J., Fan, Y., Monk, J. M., Hou, T. Y., Barhoumi, R., McMurray, D. N., & Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Allen, M Jeannie||Fan, Yang-Yi||Monk, Jennifer M||Hou, Tim Y||Barhoumi, Rola||McMurray, David N||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • January 2014