Dietary fish oil modulation of macrophage tumoricidal activity

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11 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown that macrophages and their functions can be altered by dietary fat. Specifically, diets that are rich in n-3 fatty acids such as fish oils can have significant effects on macrophage cytolytic capacity and the production of select cytokines. The purpose of these studies was to characterize how dietary fish oils altered macrophage tumoricidal activity and the production of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Dietary menhaden fish oil (MFO) significantly decreased the ability of activated macrophages to kill tumor targets compared with macrophages from mice fed safflower oil (SAF), which is high in n-6 fatty acids. Those macrophages from mice fed MFO were hyporesponsive to interferon-γ. In addition, macrophages from mice fed MFO produced more TNF-α after 24 h activation with lipopolysaccharide compared with macrophages from mice fed SAF. That difference in TNF-α production was associated with a differential production of and response to prostaglandin E2. Although there are several possible mechanisms by which dietary fat may alter macrophage function and cytokine production, we have investigated signal transduction. Macrophages from MFO-fed mice had a greater increase in intracellular calcium mobilization after treatment with platelet-activating factor (PAF) than macrophages from mice fed SAF. Those differences may be related to an alteration in the PAF signalling pathway by increasing phospholipase C activity. Thus, dietary n-3 fatty acids may significantly alter macrophage tumoricidal activation and TNF-α production through the modulation of PGE2 production and signal transduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Fish oil
  • Macrophage
  • n-3 fatty acids
  • Signal transduction
  • Tumor cytolysis
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Surgery


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