Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids promote activation-induced cell death in Th1-polarized murine CD4+ T-cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Dietary n-3 PUFAs have been shown to attenuate T-cell-mediated inflammation. To investigate whether dietary n-3 PUFAs promote activation-induced cell death (AICD) in CD4+ T-cells induced in vitro to a polarized T-helper1 (Th1) phenotype, C57BL/6 mice were fed diets containing either 5% corn oil (CO; n-6 PUFA control) or 4% fish oil (FO) plus 1% CO (n-3 PUFA) for 2 weeks. Splenic CD4+ T-cells were cultured with alpha-interleukin-4 (alphaIL-4), IL-12, and IL-2 for 2 days and then with recombinant (r) IL-12 and rIL-2 for 3 days in the presence of diet-matched homologous mouse serum (HMS) to prevent loss of cell membrane fatty acids, or with fetal bovine serum. After polarization, Th1 cells were reactivated and analyzed for interferon-gamma and IL-4 by intracellular cytokine staining and for apoptosis by Annexin V/propidium iodide. Dietary FO enhanced Th1 polarization by 49% (P = 0.0001) and AICD by 24% (P = 0.0001) only in cells cultured in the presence of HMS. FO enhancement of Th1 polarization and AICD after culture was associated with the maintenance of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) in plasma membrane lipid rafts. In conclusion, n-3 PUFAs enhance the polarization and deletion of proinflammatory Th1 cells, possibly as a result of alterations in membrane microdomain fatty acid composition.

published proceedings

  • J Lipid Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Switzer, K. C., Fan, Y., Wang, N., McMurray, D. N., & Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 56

complete list of authors

  • Switzer, Kirsten C||Fan, Yang-Yi||Wang, Naisyin||McMurray, David N||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • August 2004