Effect of dietary linseed oil on tumoricidal activity and eicosanoid production in murine macrophages

Neil Hubbard, Robert S. Chapkin, Kent L Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Diets that contain high levels of n-3 fatty acids from fish oil have been shown to significantly effect macrophage cytolytic capacity, tumor necrosis factor alpha production and eicosanoid production. The present study was undertaken to determine whether n-3 fatty acids from vegetable origin [linseed oil (LIN)] would have the same effects on murine macrophage tumoricidal capacity and eicosanoid production as would fish oil. Mice were fed for three weeks diets that contained 10% (wt/wt) of either LIN, which is high in linolenic acid (18:3n-3), menhaden fish oil (MFO), which is high in eicosapentaenoic (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic (22:6n-3) acids, or safflower oil (SAF), which is high in linoleic acid (18:2n-6). In vivo- or in vitro-activated macrophages were assessed for select functions. As expected, macrophages from mice fed LIN and MFO produced significantly lower levels of both prostaglandins and leukotriene C4 when compared with macrophages from mice fed SAF. In addition, LIN and MFO macrophages were able to synthesize leuko-triene C5, which could not be produced by macrophages from mice fed SAF. The effects of LIN, however, were not as pronounced as those of MFO. With respect to specific functions, macrophages from mice fed LIN did not have altered cytolytic capacity when compared with macrophages from mice fed SAF and activated in vitro with either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) alone for 24 h or with LPS plus interferon gamma (IFNγ) for 5 h. Diet did not significantly alter tumoricidal capacity of macrophages activated completely in vivo either. Specific binding of macrophages to tumor targets, nitric oxide production and the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha were found to be unaltered by LIN when compared with SAF. The results are not consistent with a general n-3 effect, as LIN could not effect the functions comparable to MFO. The results also suggest that a change in eicosanoid production may not be sufficient to modulate tumoricidal activity in macrophages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-655
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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