Alteration of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Production by Macrophages from Mice Fed Diets High in Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Fatty Acids

Scott D. Somers, Kent L Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Dietary exposure to n-3 fats found in marine fish oils are known to reduce certain inflammatory conditions. Although depressed prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production is thought to be a major mechanism of the beneficial effects, the direct effects of n-3 fatty acids on inflammatory macrophage function are not well understood. In this study, production of the inflammatory monokine, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), by isolated murine macrophages was assessed following a 3-week feeding with diets containing either 10% menhaden fish oil as a source of n-3 fatty acids or, as a control and source of n-6 fatty acids, 10% safflower oil. Cultures of peritoneal macrophages from mice fed diets with n-3 fatty acids had more TNFα activity 24 hr after in vitro stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide than did macrophages from mice fed the n-6-containing diet. The onset and maximal synthesis of bioactive TNFα and down-regulation of messenger RNA for TNFα appeared to be similar for the two diets, suggesting that macrophages from mice fed a diet high in n-6 but not n-3 fatty acids were capable of removing active TNFα from culture media. Experiments in which PGE2 was added exogenously indicated that the removal of TNFα from culture supernatant by macrophages was induced by lower concentrations of PGE2 than that associated with termination of production, and that n-3 fatty acid diets caused a selective loss in the clearance mechanism. These results demonstrate a specific alteration of PGE2-mediated regulation of macrophage-produced TNFα by n-3 fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalCellular Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology

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