Dietary lipid modulation of immune responsiveness

Kent L Erickson, Dorothy A. Adams, Carla J. McNeill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The influence of dietary fat concentration and saturation on blastogenesis, cytotoxicity, antibody response and fatty acid composition of murine splenic lymphocytes was studied. Blastogenesis of lymphocytes from dietarily manipulated mice in response to alloantigens from control mice was significantly greater for those mice fed a diet containing minimal essential fatty acids (EFA) as the only fat source (EFA control) than those fed an EFA-deficient diet. When the dietary fat concentration was increased, blastogenic responses decreased compared to the EFA control diet. Lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity against allogeneic melanoma cells was greater for mice receiving diets with EFA only than for those deficient in EFA. However, cytotoxicity responses of mice fed additional polyunsaturated fat (PUF) decreased as concentration increased, whereas responses of mice fed the saturated fat (SF) diets decreased only when the dietary fat concentration was greater than 8%. As compared to diets with EFA control, direct plaqueforming cell (PFC) response was decreased for mice fed high levels of PUF and increased for mice fed high levels of SF; however, no difference in the percentage of IgM-positive cells was observed. These changes in PFC response were inversely related to the levels of linoleic acid in the lymphocyte. Thus, high levels of dietary fat, and particularly PUF, suppress lymphocyte functions when EFA requirements are met, whereas low levels (EFA control) intensify these responses. EFA deficiency, however, suppresses some lymphocyte responses. Thus, dietary lipids differentially modulate the levels of T- and B-cell responsiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-474
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Food Science


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