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1.  Omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs induce the same GPR120-mediated signalling events, but with different kinetics and intensity in Caco-2 cells 
Omega-3 PUFAs are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and different mechanisms are involved. GPR120 is a G-protein coupled receptor that has recently received attention because of its anti-inflammatory signalling properties after binding omega-3 PUFAs. However, both omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs are natural GPR120 ligands. The aim of this study was to study possible differences in GPR120-mediated signalling events after treatment with different long-chain PUFAs in intestinal epithelial cells. We also investigated possible GPR120-mediated anti-inflammatory effects of different long-chain PUFAs that may be relevant in the understanding of how dietary PUFAs influence inflammatory responses in inflammatory diseases such as IBD.
We used Caco-2 cells as a model system to study GPR120-mediated signalling events because we found this cell line to express GPR120, but not GPR40, another plasma membrane receptor for medium- and long chain fatty acids. Increase in cytosolic Ca2+concentration, activation of MAP kinase ERK1/2 and the inhibition of IL-1β induced NF-κB activity were studied to reveal potential differences in the activation of GPR120 by the omega-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the omega-6 PUFA arachidonic acid (AA).
We found that EPA, DHA and AA enhanced the cytosolic concentration of the second messenger Ca2+ with the same efficiency, but with different kinetics. Both omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs activated MAP kinase ERK1/2, but differences regarding kinetics and intensity were also observed in this pathway. ERK1/2 activation was shown to be dependent upon EGFR and Raf-1. We further investigated the ability of EPA, DHA and AA to inhibit NF-κB activity in Caco-2 cells. All PUFAs tested were able to inhibit IL-1β induced breakdown of IκBα after binding to GPR120, but with different potency.
Our results show that EPA, DHA and AA elicit the same signalling events, but with different kinetics and efficiency through GPR120 in Caco-2 cells. We show, for the first time, that both omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs inhibit NF-κB activation in intestinal epithelial cells. Our results may be important for understanding how dietary PUFAs influence inflammatory processes relevant in delineating effects of PUFAs in the treatment of IBD.
PMCID: PMC3720243  PMID: 23849180
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs); GPR120 Caco-2 cells
2.  Relative abundance of short chain and polyunsaturated fatty acids in propionic acid-induced autistic features in rat pups as potential markers in autism 
Fatty acids are essential dietary nutrients, and one of their important roles is providing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the growth and function of nervous tissue. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are a group of compounds derived from the host microbiome that were recently linked to effects on the gut, the brain, and behavior. They are therefore linked to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Reduced levels of PUFAs are associated with impairments in cognitive and behavioral performance, which are particularly important during brain development. Recent studies suggest that omega -3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are involved in neurogenesis, neurotransmission, and protection from oxidative stress. Omega-3 PUFAs mediate some of these effects by antagonizing Omega-6 PUFA (arachidonic acid, AA)-induced proinflammatory prostaglandin E2; (PGE2) formation.
In this work, the absolute and relative concentrations of propionic (PPA), butyric and acetic acids, as well as PUFAs and their precursors (α-Linolenic and linoleic), were measured in the brain tissue of PPA-neurointoxicated rat pups (receiving 250 mg PPA/Kg body weight for 3 consecutive days) as a rodent model with persistent autistic features compared with healthy controls.
The data revealed remarkably lower levels of omega6/omega3, α-Linolenic/Linoleic, α-Linolenic/EPA, α-Linolenic/DHA, EPA/DHA, and AA/Linoleic acid ratios in PPA-intoxicated rats. The role of these impaired ratios is discussed in relation to the activity of desaturases and elongases, which are the two enzymatic groups involved in the synthesis of PUFAs from their precursors. The relationship between the abnormal relative concentrations of the studied fatty acids and oxidative stress, neurotransmission, and neuroinflammation is also discussed in detail.
This study demonstrates that fatty acid ratios are useful for understanding the mechanism of PPA neurotoxicity in a rodent model of autism. Therefore, it is possible to use these ratios for predictions in patients with this disorder.
PMCID: PMC4176835  PMID: 25175350
Propionic acid; Rodent model; Autism; Short chain fatty acids; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Relative values
3.  Docosahexaenoic Acid Improves the Nitroso-Redox Balance and Reduces VEGF-Mediated Angiogenic Signaling in Microvascular Endothelial Cells 
The poorly understood mechanism by which ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduce the severity of ocular vasoproliferative disorders was investigated. The authors demonstrate that ω-3 PUFAs, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can improve the nitroso-redox balance by modulating the production of nitric oxide and superoxide. In addition, they provide evidence that ω-3 PUFAs also blunt growth factor signaling and displace eNOS from caveolae microdomains. Results suggests a dual benefit of ω-3 PUFAs in the treatment of ocular diseases by maintaining the prosurvival effects of NO in the early degenerative phase of ischemic retinopathies and reducing the severity of VEGF-mediated signaling in the late proliferative phase.
Disturbances to the cellular production of nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide (O2−) can have deleterious effects on retinal vascular integrity and angiogenic signaling. Dietary agents that could modulate the production of these signaling molecules from their likely enzymatic sources, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and NADPH oxidase, would therefore have a major beneficial effect on retinal vascular disease. The effect of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on angiogenic signaling and NO/superoxide production in retinal microvascular endothelial cells (RMECs) was investigated.
Primary RMECs were treated with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for 48 hours. RMEC migration was determined by scratch-wound assay, proliferation by the incorporation of BrdU, and angiogenic sprouting using a three-dimensional model of in vitro angiogenesis. NO production was quantified by Griess assay, and phospho-eNOS accumulation and superoxide were measured using the fluorescent probe dihydroethidine. eNOS localization to caveolin-rich microdomains was determined by Western blot analysis after subfractionation on a linear sucrose gradient.
DHA treatment increased nitrite and decreased superoxide production, which correlated with the displacement of eNOS from caveolar subdomains and colocalization with the negative regulator caveolin-1. In addition, both ω-3 PUFAs demonstrated reduced responsiveness to VEGF-stimulated superoxide and nitrite release and significantly impaired endothelial wound healing, proliferation, and angiogenic sprout formation.
DHA improves NO bioavailability, decreases O2− production, and blunts VEGF-mediated angiogenic signaling. These findings suggest a role for ω-3 PUFAs, particularly DHA, in maintaining vascular integrity while reducing pathologic retinal neovascularization.
PMCID: PMC3055780  PMID: 20702831
4.  Effects of increasing docosahexaenoic acid intake in human healthy volunteers on lymphocyte activation and monocyte apoptosis 
The British Journal of Nutrition  2008;101(6):852-858.
Dietary intake of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) has been reported to decrease several markers of lymphocyte activation and modulate monocyte susceptibility to apoptosis. However most human studies examined the combined effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) using relatively high daily amounts of n-3 PUFA. The present study investigated the effects of increasing doses of DHA added to the regular diet of human healthy volunteers on lymphocyte response to tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA) plus ionomycin activation, and on monocyte apoptosis induced by oxidized LDL (oxLDL). Eight subjects were supplemented with increasing daily doses of DHA (200, 400, 800 and 1600mg) in a triacylglycerol form containing DHA as the only PUFA, for two weeks each dose. DHA intake dose-dependently increased the proportion of DHA in mononuclear cell phospholipids, the augmentation being significant after 400mg DHA/day. The TPA plus ionomycin-stimulated IL-2 mRNA level started to increase after ingestion of 400mg DHA/day, with a maximum after 800mg intake, and was positively correlated (P<0.003) with DHA enrichment in cell phospholipids. The treatment of monocytes by oxLDL before DHA supplementation drastically reduced mitochondrial membrane potential as compared with native LDL treatment. OxLDL apoptotic effect was significantly attenuated after 400mg DHA/day and the protective effect was maintained throughout the experiment, although to a lesser extent at higher doses. The present results show that supplementation of the human diet with low DHA dosages improves lymphocyte activability. It also increases monocyte resistance to oxLDL-induced apoptosis, which may be beneficial in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC2685418  PMID: 18710607
DHA enrichment; interleukin-2; mitochondrial membrane potential; oxidized LDL
5.  Generation and Dietary Modulation of Anti-Inflammatory Electrophilic Omega-3 Fatty Acid Derivatives 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94836.
Dietary ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) decrease cardiovascular risk via suppression of inflammation. The generation of electrophilic α,β-unsaturated ketone derivatives of the ω-3 PUFAs docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) in activated human macrophages is catalyzed by cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2). These derivatives are potent pleiotropic anti-inflammatory signaling mediators that act via mechanisms including the activation of Nrf2-dependent phase 2 gene expression and suppression of pro-inflammatory NF-κB-driven gene expression. Herein, the endogenous generation of ω-3 PUFAs electrophilic ketone derivatives and their hydroxy precursors was evaluated in human neutrophils. In addition, their dietary modulation was assessed through a randomized clinical trial.
Endogenous generation of electrophilic omega-3 PUFAs and their hydroxy precursors was evaluated by mass spectrometry in neutrophils isolated from healthy subjects, both at baseline and upon stimulation with calcium ionophore. For the clinical trial, participants were healthy adults 30–55 years of age with a reported EPA+DHA consumption of ≤300 mg/day randomly assigned to parallel groups receiving daily oil capsule supplements for a period of 4 months containing either 1.4 g of EPA+DHA (active condition, n = 24) or identical appearing soybean oil (control condition, n = 21). Participants and laboratory technicians remained blinded to treatment assignments.
5-lypoxygenase-dependent endogenous generation of 7-oxo-DHA, 7-oxo-DPA and 5-oxo-EPA and their hydroxy precursors is reported in human neutrophils stimulated with calcium ionophore and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Dietary EPA+DHA supplementation significantly increased the formation of 7-oxo-DHA and 5-oxo-EPA, with no significant modulation of arachidonic acid (AA) metabolite levels.
The endogenous detection of these electrophilic ω-3 fatty acid ketone derivatives supports the precept that the benefit of ω-3 PUFA-rich diets can be attributed to the generation of electrophilic oxygenated metabolites that transduce anti-inflammatory actions rather than the suppression of pro-inflammatory AA metabolites.
Trial Registration NCT00663871
PMCID: PMC3988126  PMID: 24736647
6.  Reduction in Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:Eicosapentaenoic Acid plus Docosahexaenoic Acid Ratio Minimizes Atherosclerotic Lesion Formation and Inflammatory Response in the LDL Receptor Null Mouse 
Atherosclerosis  2008;204(1):147-155.
Dietary very long chain omega (ω)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been associated with reduced CVD risk, the mechanisms of which have yet to be fully elucidated. LDL receptor null mice (LDLr-/-) were used to assess the effect of different ratios of dietary ω-6 PUFA to eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid (ω-6:EPA+DHA) on atherogenesis and inflammatory response. Mice were fed high saturated fat diets without EPA and DHA (HSF ω-6), or with ω-6:EPA+DHA at ratios of 20:1 (HSF R=20:1), 4:1 (HSF R=4:1), and 1:1 (HSF R=1:1) for 32 weeks. Mice fed the lowest ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio diet had lower circulating concentrations of non-HDL cholesterol (25%, P<0.05) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (44%, P<0.05) compared to mice fed the HSF ω-6 diet. Aortic and elicited peritoneal macrophage (Mϕ) total cholesterol were 24% (P=0.07) and 25% (P<0.05) lower, respectively, in HSF R=1:1 compared to HSF ω-6 fed mice. MCP-1 mRNA levels and secretion were 37% (P<0.05) and 38% (P<0.05) lower, respectively, in elicited peritoneal Mϕ isolated from HSF R=1:1 compared to HSF ω-6 fed mice. mRNA and protein levels of ATP-binding cassette A1, and mRNA levels of TNFα were significantly lower in elicited peritoneal Mϕ isolated from HSF R=1:1 fed mice, whereas there was no significant effect of diets with different ω-6:EPA+DHA ratios on CD36, Mϕ scavenger receptor 1, scavenger receptor B1 and IL-6 mRNA or protein levels. These data suggest that lower ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio diets lowered some measures of inflammation and Mϕ cholesterol accumulation, which was associated with less aortic lesion formation in LDLr-/- mice.
PMCID: PMC2826705  PMID: 18842266
ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio; ω-3 fatty acids; atherosclerosis; inflammation; macrophage cholesterol accumulation; LDLr-/- mouse; diet; elicited peritoneal Mϕ
7.  Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid on Prostate Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion Induced by Tumor-Associated Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99630.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the major n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in fish oil that decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are the main leukocytes of intratumoral infiltration, and increased TAMs correlates with poor prostate cancer prognosis. However, the mechanism of n-3 PUFAs on prostate cancer cell progression induced by TAMs is not well understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of EPA and DHA on modulating of migration and invasion of prostate cancer cells induced by TAMs-like M2-type macrophages. PC-3 prostate cancer cells were pretreated with EPA, DHA, or the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ antagonist, GW9662, before exposure to conditioned medium (CM). CM was derived from M2-polarized THP-1 macrophages. The migratory and invasive abilities of PC-3 cells were evaluated using a coculture system of M2-type macrophages and PC-3 cells. EPA/DHA administration decreased migration and invasion of PC-3 cells. The PPAR-γ DNA-binding activity and cytosolic inhibitory factor κBα (IκBα) protein expression increased while the nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65 transcriptional activity and nuclear NF-κB p65 protein level decreased in PC-3 cells incubated with CM in the presence of EPA/DHA. Further, EPA/DHA downregulated mRNA expressions of matrix metalloproteinase-9, cyclooxygenase-2, vascular endothelial growth factor, and macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Pretreatment with GW9662 abolished the favorable effects of EPA/DHA on PC-3 cells. These results indicate that EPA/DHA administration reduced migration, invasion and macrophage chemotaxis of PC-3 cells induced by TAM-like M2-type macrophages, which may partly be explained by activation of PPAR-γ and decreased NF-κB p65 transcriptional activity.
PMCID: PMC4055683  PMID: 24925287
8.  Long chain omega-3 fatty acid immunomodulation and the potential for adverse health outcomes 
Recommendations to consume fish for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and its generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status have had the unanticipated consequence of encouraging long-chain omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acid [(eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] supplementation and fortification practices. While there is evidence supporting a protective role for EPA/DHA supplementation for reducing sudden cardiac events, the safety and efficacy of supplementation with LCω-3PUFA in the context of other disease outcomes is unclear. Recent studies of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections in animal models of infectious disease demonstrate that LCω-3PUFA intake dampens immunity and alters pathogen clearance and result in reduced survival. The same physiological properties of EPA/DHA that are responsible for the amelioration of inflammation associated with chronic cardiovascular pathology or autoimmune states, may impair pathogen clearance during acute infections by decreasing host resistance or interfere with tumor surveillance resulting in adverse health outcomes. Recent observations that high serum LCω-3PUFA levels are associated with higher risk of prostate cancer and atrial fibrillation have heightened the concern for adverse outcomes. Given the widespread use of supplements and fortification of common food items with LCω-3PUFA, this review focuses on the immunomodulatory effects of the dietary LCω-3PUFAs, EPA and DHA, the mechanistic basis for potential negative health outcomes, and calls for biomarker development and validation as rational first steps for setting recommended dietary intake levels.
PMCID: PMC3912985  PMID: 24183073
Fenton, JI; Hord, NG; Ghosh, S; Gurzell, EA
9.  Effect of fish oils containing different amounts of EPA, DHA, and antioxidants on plasma and brain fatty acids and brain nitric oxide synthase activity in rats 
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences  2009;114(4):206-213.
The interest in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has expanded significantly in the last few years, due to their many positive effects described. Consequently, the interest in fish oil supplementation has also increased, and many different types of fish oil supplements can be found on the market. Also, it is well known that these types of fatty acids are very easily oxidized, and that stability among supplements varies greatly.
Aims of the study
In this pilot study we investigated the effects of two different types of natural fish oils containing different amounts of the n-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and antioxidants on plasma and brain fatty acids, blood lipids, vitamin E, and in vivo lipid peroxidation, as well as brain nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, an enzyme which has been shown to be important for memory and learning ability.
Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups and fed regular rat chow pellets enriched with 5% (w/w) of butter (control group), a natural fish oil (17.4% EPA and 11.7% DHA, referred to as EPA-rich), and a natural fish oil rich in DHA (7.7% EPA and 28.0% DHA, referred to as DHA-rich). Both of the fish oils were stabilized by a commercial antioxidant protection system (Pufanox®) at production. The fourth group received the same DHA-rich oil, but without Pufanox® stabilization (referred to as unstable). As an index of stability of the oils, their peroxide values were repeatedly measured during 9 weeks. The dietary treatments continued until sacrifice, after 10 days.
Stability of the oils varied greatly. It took the two stabilized oils 9 weeks to reach the same peroxide value as the unstable oil reached after only a few days. Both the stabilized EPA- and DHA-rich diets lowered the triacylglycerols and total cholesterol compared to control (-45%, P < 0.05 and -54%, P < 0.001; -31%, P < 0.05 and -25%, P < 0.01) and so did the unstable oil, but less efficiently. Only the unstable oil increased in vivo lipid peroxidation significantly compared to control (+40%, P < 0.001). Most of the fatty acids in the plasma phospholipids were significantly affected by both the EPA- and DHA-rich diets compared to control, reflecting their specific fatty acid pattern. The unstable oil diet resulted in smaller changes, especially in n-3 PUFAs. In the brain phospholipids the changes were less pronounced, and only the diet enriched with the stabilized DHA-rich oil resulted in a significantly greater incorporation of DHA (+13%, P < 0.01), as well as total n-3 PUFAs (+13%, P < 0.01) compared to control. Only the stabilized DHA-rich oil increased the brain NOS activity (+33%, P < 0.01).
Both the EPA- and DHA-rich diets affected the blood lipids in a similarly positive manner, and they both had a large impact on plasma phospholipid fatty acids. It was only the unstable oil that increased in vivo lipid peroxidation. However, the intake of DHA was more important than that of EPA for brain phospholipid DHA enrichment and brain NOS activity, and the stability of the fish oil was also important for these effects.
PMCID: PMC2852776  PMID: 19961266
Antioxidants; brain; DHA; EPA; fish oil; lipid peroxidation; nitric oxide synthase
10.  Docosahexaenoic Acid Suppresses Neuroinflammatory Responses and Induces Heme Oxygenase-1 Expression in BV-2 Microglia: Implications of Antidepressant Effects for Omega-3 Fatty Acids 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2010;35(11):2238-2248.
Accumulating evidence suggests that the pathophysiology of depression might be associated with neuroinflammation, which could be attenuated by pharmacological treatment for depression. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are anti-inflammatory and exert antidepressant effects. The aim of this study was to identify the molecular mechanisms through which docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main omega-3 PUFA in the brain, modulates oxidative reactions and inflammatory cytokine production in microglial and neuronal cells. The results of this study showed that DHA reduced expressions of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, nitric oxide synthase, and cyclo-oxygenase-2, induced by interferon-γ, and induced upregulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in BV-2 microglia. The inhibitory effect of DHA on nitric oxide production was abolished by HO-1 inhibitor zinc protoporphyrin IX. In addition, DHA caused AKT and ERK activation in a time-dependent manner, and the DHA-induced HO-1 upregulation could be attenuated by PI-3 kinase/AKT and MEK/ERK inhibitors. DHA also increased IKKα/β phosphorylation, IκBα phosphorylation, and IκBα degradation, whereas both nuclear factor-κB and IκB protease inhibitors could inhibit DHA-induced HO-1 expressions. The other major n-3 PUFA, eicosapentaenoic acid, showed similar effects of DHA on inflammation and HO-1 in repeated key experiments. In connecting with inflammation hypothesis of depression and clinical studies supporting the antidepressant effects of omega-3 PUFAs, this study provides a novel implication of the antidepressant mechanisms of DHA.
PMCID: PMC3055314  PMID: 20668435
omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1); antidepressant; microglia; inflammation; biological psychiatry; depression, unipolar/bipolar; molecular & cellular neurobiology; psychopharmacology; omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1); antidepressant; microglia, inflammation
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is required for normal brain function. The concentration of DHA in the brain depends on both diet and liver metabolism.
To determine rat brain DHA concentration and consumption in relation to dietary n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content and liver secretion of DHA derived from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA).
Following weaning, male rats were fed for 15 weeks either: (1) a diet with a high DHA and α-LNA content, (2) an n-3 PUFA “adequate” diet containing 4.6% α-LNA but no DHA, or (3) an n-3 PUFA “deficient” diet containing 0.2% α-LNA and no DHA. Brain DHA consumption rates were measured following intravenous infusion in unanesthetized rats of [1-14C]DHA, whereas liver and brain DHA synthesis rates were measured by infusing [1-14C]α-LNA.
Brain DHA concentrations equaled 17.6 μm/g, 11.4 μm/g and 7.14 μm/g in rats on diets 1, 2 and 3, respectively. With each diet, the rate of brain DHA synthesis from α-LNA was much less than the brain DHA consumption rate, whereas the liver synthesis-secretion rate was 5-10 fold higher. Higher elongase 2 and 5 and desaturase Δ5 and Δ6 activities in liver than in brain accounted for the higher liver DHA synthesis rates; these enzymes were transcriptionally upregulated in liver but not in brain of rats fed the deficient diet.
While DHA is essential to normal brain function, this need might be covered by dietary α-LNA when liver metabolic conversion machinery is intact and the diet has a high α-LNA content.
PMCID: PMC2967256  PMID: 19540098
docosahexaenoic acid; liver; brain; rat; n-3; omega-3; PUFA; imaging; metabolism; diet; synthesis; α-linolenic acid
Journal of Neurochemistry  2012;120(6):985-997.
Dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation in rodents reduces brain arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) concentration and 20:4n-6-preferring cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2-IVA) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression, while increasing brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) concentration and DHA-selective Ca2+-independent iPLA2-VIA expression. We hypothesized that these changes are accompanied by upregulated brain DHA metabolic rates. Using a fatty acid model, brain DHA concentrations and kinetics were measured in unanesthetized male rats fed, for 15 weeks post-weaning, an n-6 PUFA “adequate” (31.4 wt% linoleic acid) or “deficient” (2.7 wt% linoleic acid) diet, each lacking 20:4n-6 and DHA. [1-14C]DHA was infused intravenously, arterial blood was sampled, and the brain was microwaved at 5 min and analyzed. Rats fed the n-6 PUFA deficient compared with adequate diet had significantly reduced n-6 PUFA concentrations in brain phospholipids but increased eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), docosapentaenoic acidn-3 (DPAn-3, 22:5n-3) and DHA (by 9.4%) concentrations, particularly in ethanolamine glycerophospholipid. Incorporation rates of unesterified DHA from plasma, which represent DHA metabolic loss from brain, were increased 45% in brain phospholipids, as was DHA turnover. Increased DHA metabolism following dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation may increase brain concentrations of antiinflammatory DHA metabolites, which with a reduced brain n-6 PUFA content, likely promote neuroprotection. (199 words)
PMCID: PMC3296886  PMID: 22117540
linoleic acid; arachidonic PUFA; diet; turnover; metabolism; docosahexaenoic; kinetics; brain; alpha-linolenic; rat
13.  Distinguishing Health Benefits of Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids 
Marine Drugs  2012;10(11):2535-2559.
Long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFAs) are recommended for management of patients with wide-ranging chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and depression. Increased consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is recommended by many health authorities to prevent (up to 0.5 g/day) or treat chronic disease (1.0 g/day for coronary heart disease; 1.2–4 g/day for elevated triglyceride levels). Recommendations for dietary intake of LC n-3 PUFAs are often provided for α-linolenic acid, and for the combination of EPA and DHA. However, many studies have also reported differential effects of EPA, DHA and their metabolites in the clinic and at the laboratory bench. The aim of this article is to review studies that have identified divergent responses to EPA and DHA, and to explore reasons for these differences. In particular, we review potential contributing factors such as differential membrane incorporation, modulation of gene expression, activation of signaling pathways and metabolite formation. We suggest that there may be future opportunity to refine recommendations for intake of individual LC n-3 PUFAs.
PMCID: PMC3509534  PMID: 23203276
LC n-3 PUFAs; omega-3 fatty acids; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; resolvin D1; differential response; omega-3 fatty acid metabolites
14.  Effects of Fatty Acids on Benzo[a]pyrene Uptake and Metabolism in Human Lung Adenocarcinoma A549 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90908.
Dietary supplementation with natural chemoprotective agents is receiving considerable attention because of health benefits and lack of toxicity. In recent in vivo and in vitro experimental studies, diets rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to provide significant anti-tumor action. In this investigation, the effects of control fatty acids (oleic acid (OA), linoleic acid (LA)) and n-3 PUFA, e.g., docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on the uptake and metabolism of the carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) was investigated in A549 cells, a human adenocarcinoma alveolar basal epithelial cell line. A549 cells activate BaP through the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to form reactive metabolites, a few of which covalently bind to DNA and proteins. Therefore, multiphoton microscopy spectral analysis combined with linear unmixing was used to identify the parent compound and BaP metabolites formed in cells, in the presence and absence of fatty acids. The relative abundance of select metabolites was associated with altered P450 activity as determined using ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity in cells cultured in the presence of BSA-conjugated fatty acids. In addition, the parent compound within cellular membranes increases significantly in the presence of each of the fatty acids, with the greatest accumulation observed following DHA treatment. DHA treated cells exhibit significantly lower pyrene-like metabolites indicative of lower adducts including DNA adducts compared to control BSA, OA or LA treated cells. Further, DHA reduced the abundance of the proximate carcinogen BaP 7,8-dihydrodiol and the 3-hydroxybenzo[a]pyene metabolites compared to other treatments. The significant changes in BaP metabolites in DHA treated cells may be mediated by the effects on the physicochemical properties of the membrane known to affect enzyme activity related to phase I and phase II metabolism. In summary, DHA is a highly bioactive chemo-protective agent capable of modulating BaP-induced DNA adducts.
PMCID: PMC3961214  PMID: 24651647
15.  Mechanisms for Suppression of Interleukin-6 Expression in Peritoneal Macrophages from Docosahexaenoic Acid-Fed Mice 
Consumption of the trichothecene mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) induces interleukin-6 (IL-6)-dependent IgA nephropathy (IgAN) in mice. This effect can be prevented by feeding long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in fish oil. The purpose of this study was to identify the signal transduction pathways by which DON upregulates IL-6 in the peritoneal macrophage and how consumption of fish oil enriched with the n-3 PUFA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), suppresses these processes. Incubation with DON induced IL-6 expression in naïve macrophages maximally at 3 h. Knockdown of the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) or pharmacologic inhibition of the CREB kinases, Akt1/2, MSK1 and RSK1, downregulated this expression. Inhibition of double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR) suppressed not only IL-6 expression but also phosphorylation of CREB and its upstream kinases, Akt1, MSK1 and RSK1. Phosphorylations of PKR, CREB kinases and CREB were markedly impaired in peritoneal macrophages isolated from mice that consumed DHA-enriched fish oil for 6 to 8 wk. DHA’s effects were not explainable by increased activity of protein phosphatase 1 and 2A since both were suppressed in mice consuming the DHA diet. Although cells cultured directly with DHA expressed less IL-6 compared to cells cultured with arachidonic acid (AA), neither fatty acid treatment affected DON-induced protein phosphorylation. Furthermore, DHA and AA similarly inhibited cell-free protein kinase activity. These data suggest that DON-induced IL-6 expression is CREB-mediated and PKR-dependent and that requisite kinase activities for these pathways were suppressed in macrophages from mice fed DHA for an extended period.
PMCID: PMC2727136  PMID: 18602807
deoxynivalenol (DON); interleukin-6; DHA; CREB; macrophage; protein kinase
16.  Brain metabolism of nutritionally essential polyunsaturated fatty acids depends on both the diet and the liver 
Plasma α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) or linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) does not contribute significantly to the brain content of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) or arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6), respectively, and neither DHA nor AA can be synthesized de novo in vertebrate tissue. Therefore, measured rates of incorporation of circulating DHA or AA into brain exactly represent the rates of consumption by brain. Positron emission tomography (PET) has been used to show, based on this information, that the adult human brain consumes AA and DHA at rates of 17.8 and 4.6 mg/day, respectively, and that AA consumption does not change significantly with age. In unanesthetized adult rats fed an n-3 PUFA “adequate” diet containing 4.6% α-LNA (of total fatty acids) as its only n-3 PUFA, the rate of liver synthesis of DHA is more than sufficient to replace maintain brain DHA, whereas the brain’s rate of synthesis is very low and unable to do so. Reducing dietary α-LNA in an DHA-free diet fed to rats leads to upregulation of liver coefficients of α-LNA conversion to DHA and of liver expression of elongases and desaturases that catalyze this conversion. Concurrently, the brain DHA loss slows due to downregulation of several of its DHA-metabolizing enzymes. Dietary α-LNA deficiency also promotes accumulation of brain docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-6), and upregulates expression of AA-metabolizing enzymes, including cytosolic and secretory phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase-2. These changes, plus reduced levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), likely render the brain more vulnerable to neuropathological insults.
PMCID: PMC2725409  PMID: 18060754
docosahexaenoic acid; liver; brain; rat; n-3 PUFAs; imaging; metabolism; phospholipase A2; BDNF; diet; arachidonic acid
17.  Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Alter Oxytocin Signaling and Receptor Density in Cultured Pregnant Human Myometrial Smooth Muscle Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41708.
Epidemiological studies and interventional clinical trials indicate that consumption of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) lengthen gestational duration. Although the mechanisms are not well understood, prostaglandins (PG) of the 2-series are known to play a role in the initiation and progress of labor. In animal studies, modest DHA provision has been shown to reduce placental and uterine PGE2 and PGF2α, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 expression, and placental collagenase activity. However, modulation of PG biosynthesis may not account for all the effects of LC n-3 PUFAs in labor. We investigated one potential PG-independent mechanism of LC PUFA action using cultured pregnant human myometrial smooth muscle cells. Our goal was to characterize the effect of LC PUFA treatment on oxytocin signaling, a potent uterotonic hormone involved in labor. The addition of 10 µM–100 µM DHA or arachidonic acid (AA) to the culture media for 48 h resulted in dose dependent enrichment of these fatty acids in membrane lipid. DHA and AA significantly inhibited phosphatidylinositol turnover and [Ca2+]i mobilization with oxytocin stimulation compared to bovine serum albumin control and equimolar oleic acid. DHA and AA significantly reduced oxytocin receptor membrane concentration without altering binding affinity or rate of receptor internalization. These findings demonstrate a role for LC n-3 PUFAs in regulation of oxytocin signaling and provide new insight into additional mechanisms pertaining to reports of dietary fish and fish oil consumption prolonging gestation.
PMCID: PMC3406084  PMID: 22848573
18.  Acrolein-derived DNA adduct formation in human colon cancer cells: its role in apoptosis induction by docosahexaenoic acid 
Chemical research in toxicology  2009;22(5):798-806.
The apoptotic effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and other ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been documented in cell and animal studies. The molecular mechanism by which DHA induces apoptosis is unclear. Although there is no direct evidence, some studies have suggested that DNA damage generated through lipid peroxidation may be involved. Our previous studies showed that DHA, because it is high degree of unsaturation, can give rise to the acrolein-derived 1,N2-propanodeoxyguanosine (Acr-dG) as a major class of DNA adducts via lipid oxidation. As a first step to investigate the possible role of oxidative DNA damage in apoptosis induced by DHA, we examined the relationships between oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis caused by DHA in human colon cancer HT-29 cells. The apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage, including Acr-dG and 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) formation, in cells treated with DHA and ω-6 PUFAs, including arachidonic acid (AA) and linoleic acid (LA), were measured. DHA induced apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner with a concentration range from 0 to 300 µM as indicated by increased caspase-3 activity and PARP cleavage. In contrast, AA and LA had little or no effect at these concentrations. The Acr-dG levels were increased in HT-29 cells treated with DHA at 240 and 300µM, and the increases were correlated with the induction of apoptosis at these concentrations, while no significant changes were observed for 8-oxo-dG. Because proteins may compete with DNA to react with Acr, we then examined the effects of BSA on the DHA induced apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage. The addition of BSA to HT-29 cell culture media significantly decreases Acr-dG levels with a concomitant decrease in the apoptosis induced by DHA. The reduced Acr-dG formation is attributed to the reaction of BSA with acrolein as indicated by increased levels of total protein carbonyls. Similar correlations between Acr-dG formation and apoptosis were observed in HT-29 cells directly incubated with 0 to 200µM of acrolein. Additionally, DHA treatment increased level of DNA strand breaks and caused cell cycle arrested at G1 phase. Taken together, these results demonstrate the parallel relationships between the Acr-dG level and apoptosis in HT-29 cells, suggesting that the formation of Acr-dG in cellular DNA may contribute to apoptosis induced by DHA.
PMCID: PMC2683896  PMID: 19341237
polyunsaturated fatty acids; apoptosis; chemoprevention; colon cancer; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); arachidonic acid (AA); linoleic (LA); acrolein; 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal; cyclic deoxyguanosine adducts; oxidative DNA damage; 32P-postlabeling
19.  Incorporated Fish Oil Fatty Acids Prevent Action Potential Shortening Induced by Circulating Fish Oil Fatty Acids 
Increased consumption of fatty fish, rich in omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-PUFAs) reduces the severity and number of arrhythmias. Long-term ω3-PUFA-intake modulates the activity of several cardiac ion channels leading to cardiac action potential shortening. Circulating ω3-PUFAs in the bloodstream and incorporated ω3-PUFAs in the cardiac membrane have a different mechanism to shorten the action potential. It is, however, unknown whether circulating ω3-PUFAs in the bloodstream enhance or diminish the effects of incorporated ω3-PUFAs. In the present study, we address this issue. Rabbits were fed a diet rich in fish oil (ω3) or sunflower oil (ω9, as control) for 3 weeks. Ventricular myocytes were isolated by enzymatic dissociation and action potentials were measured using the perforated patch-clamp technique in the absence and presence of acutely administered ω3-PUFAs. Plasma of ω3 fed rabbits contained more free eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and isolated myocytes of ω3 fed rabbits contained higher amounts of both EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in their sarcolemma compared to control. In the absence of acutely administered fatty acids, ω3 myocytes had a shorter action potential with a more negative plateau than ω9 myocytes. In the ω9 myocytes, but not in the ω3 myocytes, acute administration of a mixture of EPA + DHA shortened the action potential significantly. From these data we conclude that incorporated ω3-PUFAs into the sarcolemma and acutely administered ω3 fatty acids do not have a cumulative effect on action potential duration and morphology. As a consequence, patients with a high cardiac ω3-PUFA status will probably not benefit from short term ω3 supplementation as an antiarrhythmic therapy.
PMCID: PMC3059945  PMID: 21423389
fish oil; incorporated fish oil; diet; dietary fish oil; cardiac action potential
20.  Omega 3 fatty acids chemosensitize multidrug resistant colon cancer cells by down-regulating cholesterol synthesis and altering detergent resistant membranes composition 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:137.
The activity of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and multidrug resistance related protein 1 (MRP1), two membrane transporters involved in multidrug resistance of colon cancer, is increased by high amounts of cholesterol in plasma membrane and detergent resistant membranes (DRMs). It has never been investigated whether omega 3 polyunsatured fatty acids (PUFAs), which modulate cholesterol homeostasis in dyslipidemic syndromes and have chemopreventive effects in colon cancer, may affect the response to chemotherapy in multidrug resistant (MDR) tumors.
We studied the effect of omega 3 PUFAs docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in human chemosensitive colon cancer HT29 cells and in their MDR counterpart, HT29-dx cells.
MDR cells, which overexpressed Pgp and MRP1, had a dysregulated cholesterol metabolism, due to the lower expression of ubiquitin E3 ligase Trc8: this produced lower ubiquitination rate of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGCoAR), higher cholesterol synthesis, higher cholesterol content in MDR cells. We found that DHA and EPA re-activated Trc8 E3 ligase in MDR cells, restored the ubiquitination rate of HMGCoAR to levels comparable with chemosensitive cells, reduced the cholesterol synthesis and incorporation in DRMs. Omega 3 PUFAs were incorporated in whole lipids as well as in DRMs of MDR cells, and altered the lipid composition of these compartments. They reduced the amount of Pgp and MRP1 contained in DRMs, decreased the transporters activity, restored the antitumor effects of different chemotherapeutic drugs, restored a proper tumor-immune system recognition in response to chemotherapy in MDR cells.
Our work describes a new biochemical effect of omega 3 PUFAs, which can be useful to overcome chemoresistance in MDR colon cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4225767  PMID: 24225025
Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; Cholesterol; Detergent resistant membranes; Multidrug resistance; ATP binding cassette transporters
21.  Novel Lysophospholipid Acyltransferase PLAT1 of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b Responsible for Generation of Palmitate-Docosahexaenoate-Phosphatidylcholine and Phosphatidylethanolamine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102377.
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), have been reported to play roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The major source of DHA is fish oils but a recent increase in the global demand of DHA and decrease in fish stocks require a substitute. Thraustochytrids, unicellular marine protists belonging to the Chromista kingdom, can synthesize large amounts of DHA, and, thus, are expected to be an alternative to fish oils. DHA is found in the acyl chain(s) of phospholipids as well as triacylglycerols in thraustochytrids; however, how thraustochytrids incorporate DHA into phospholipids remains unknown. We report here a novel lysophospholipid acyltransferase (PLAT1), which is responsible for the generation of DHA-containing phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine in thraustochytrids. The PLAT1 gene, which was isolated from the genomic DNA of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b, was expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the FLAG-tagged recombinant enzyme was characterized after purification with anti-FLAG affinity gel. PLAT1 shows wide specificity for donor substrates as well as acceptor substrates in vitro, i.e, the enzyme can adopt lysophosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylserine and lysophosphatidylinositol as acceptor substrates, and 15:0/16:0-CoA and DHA-CoA as donor substrates. In contrast to the in vitro experiment, only lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase and lysophosphatidylethanolamine acyltransferase activities were decreased in plat1-knockout mutants, resulting in a decrease of 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylcholine (PC) [PC(38∶6)] and 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) [PE(38∶6)], which are two major DHA-containing phospholipids in A. limacinum F26-b. However, the amounts of other phospholipid species including DHA-DHA-PC [PC(44∶12)] and DHA-DHA-PE [PE(44∶12)] were almost the same in plat-knockout mutants and the wild-type. These results indicate that PLAT1 is the enzyme responsible for the generation of 16:0-DHA-PC and 16:0-DHA-PE in the thraustochytrid.
PMCID: PMC4121067  PMID: 25090090
22.  Prevention of alcoholic fatty liver and mitochondrial dysfunction in the rat by long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids 
Journal of hepatology  2008;49(2):262-273.
We reported that reduced dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as arachidonic (AA,20:4n6, omega-6) and docosahexaenoic (DHA,22:6n3, omega-3) acids led to alcohol-induced fatty liver and fibrosis. This study was aimed at studying the mechanisms by which a DHA/AA-supplemented diet prevents alcohol-induced fatty liver.
Male Long-Evans rats were fed an ethanol or control liquid-diet with or without DHA/AA for 9 weeks. Plasma transaminase levels, liver histology, oxidative/nitrosative stress markers, and activities of oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins were evaluated.
Chronic alcohol administration increased the degree of fatty liver but fatty liver decreased significantly in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. Alcohol exposure increased oxidative/nitrosative stress with elevated levels of ethanol-inducible CYP2E1, nitric oxide synthase, nitrite and mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide. However, these increments were normalized in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. The number of oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins was markedly increased following alcohol exposure but significantly reduced in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. The suppressed activities of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, ATP synthase, and 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase in ethanol-exposed rats were also recovered in animals fed the ethanol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet.
Addition of DHA/AA prevents alcohol-induced fatty liver and mitochondrial dysfunction in an animal model by protecting various mitochondrial enzymes most likely through reducing oxidative/nitrosative stress.
PMCID: PMC2532851  PMID: 18571270
Alcoholic fatty liver; polyunsaturated fatty acids; Long-Evans rat; Oxidative/nitrosative stress; Protein oxidation; β-oxidation of fatty acids; Mitochondrial dysfunction
23.  Short-Term Long Chain Omega3 Diet Protects from Neuroinflammatory Processes and Memory Impairment in Aged Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36861.
Regular consumption of food enriched in omega3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3 PUFAs) has been shown to reduce risk of cognitive decline in elderly, and possibly development of Alzheimer's disease. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the most likely active components of ω3-rich PUFAs diets in the brain. We therefore hypothesized that exposing mice to a DHA and EPA enriched diet may reduce neuroinflammation and protect against memory impairment in aged mice. For this purpose, mice were exposed to a control diet throughout life and were further submitted to a diet enriched in EPA and DHA during 2 additional months. Cytokine expression together with a thorough analysis of astrocytes morphology assessed by a 3D reconstruction was measured in the hippocampus of young (3-month-old) and aged (22-month-old) mice. In addition, the effects of EPA and DHA on spatial memory and associated Fos activation in the hippocampus were assessed. We showed that a 2-month EPA/DHA treatment increased these long-chain ω3 PUFAs in the brain, prevented cytokines expression and astrocytes morphology changes in the hippocampus and restored spatial memory deficits and Fos-associated activation in the hippocampus of aged mice. Collectively, these data indicated that diet-induced accumulation of EPA and DHA in the brain protects against neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment linked to aging, further reinforcing the idea that increased EPA and DHA intake may provide protection to the brain of aged subjects.
PMCID: PMC3360741  PMID: 22662127
24.  A defect in the synthesis of Interferon-γ by the T cells of Complement-C5 deficient mice leads to enhanced susceptibility for tuberculosis 
Tuberculosis (Edinburgh, Scotland)  2011;91(Suppl 1):S82-S89.
Interferon-γ (IFNγ) plays a major role during host defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). T cells produce IFNγ in response to IL-12 and IL-18 secreted from Mtb infected macrophages. IFNγ in turn, induces nitric oxide secretion in macrophages that kills Mtb. IFNγ knock-out mice are thus hyper-susceptible to tuberculosis. We reported earlier that Complement C5 deficient (C5-/-) congenic mice are more susceptible to tuberculosis and showed reduced IL-12 synthesis in their macrophages. Using C5-/- congenic mice that carry a deletion in the C5 gene and the wild type C5+/+ mice, we demonstrate here that, the C5-/-derived CD3+ T cells, have an additional defect in the synthesis of IFNγ. C5-/- T cells produced lower levels of IFNγ upon stimulation by antigen presenting cells (APCs) infected with Mtb or when stimulated directly with a combination of IL-12 and IL-18. The latter was in part due to a reduced phosphorylation of STAT-4 following IL-12/IL-18 stimulation. Addition of C5a peptide to IL-12/IL-18 partially restored STAT4 phosphorylation and IFNγ synthesis in C5-/- T cells indicating that IL-12/IL-18 mediated signaling within CD3+ T cells involves C5a peptide. Finally, C5-/- T cells derived from M.bovis BCG or Mtb infected mice showed a reduced expression of T-bet (T-box expressed in T cells) transcription factor, which correlated well with a reduced T cell secretion of IFNγ. Since T-bet mediated IFNγ synthesis facilitates Th1 expansion, C5-/- mouse derived T cells appear to have an intrinsic defect in the production of IFNγ, which is related to C5 deficiency and this may explain their increased susceptibility to infection with Mtb and BCG.
PMCID: PMC3263371  PMID: 22154007
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Complement; Interferon-γ; anaphylatoxin C5a; Mouse; IL-12 and IL-18
25.  Restoration of IFNγR Subunit Assembly, IFNγ Signaling and Parasite Clearance in Leishmania donovani Infected Macrophages: Role of Membrane Cholesterol 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(9):e1002229.
Despite the presence of significant levels of systemic Interferon gamma (IFNγ), the host protective cytokine, Kala-azar patients display high parasite load with downregulated IFNγ signaling in Leishmania donovani (LD) infected macrophages (LD-MØs); the cause of such aberrant phenomenon is unknown. Here we reveal for the first time the mechanistic basis of impaired IFNγ signaling in parasitized murine macrophages. Our study clearly shows that in LD-MØs IFNγ receptor (IFNγR) expression and their ligand-affinity remained unaltered. The intracellular parasites did not pose any generalized defect in LD-MØs as IL-10 mediated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation remained unaltered with respect to normal. Previously, we showed that LD-MØs are more fluid than normal MØs due to quenching of membrane cholesterol. The decreased rigidity in LD-MØs was not due to parasite derived lipophosphoglycan (LPG) because purified LPG failed to alter fluidity in normal MØs. IFNγR subunit 1 (IFNγR1) and subunit 2 (IFNγR2) colocalize in raft upon IFNγ stimulation of normal MØs, but this was absent in LD-MØs. Oddly enough, such association of IFNγR1 and IFNγR2 could be restored upon liposomal delivery of cholesterol as evident from the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiment and co-immunoprecipitation studies. Furthermore, liposomal cholesterol treatment together with IFNγ allowed reassociation of signaling assembly (phospho-JAK1, JAK2 and STAT1) in LD-MØs, appropriate signaling, and subsequent parasite killing. This effect was cholesterol specific because cholesterol analogue 4-cholestene-3-one failed to restore the response. The presence of cholesterol binding motifs [(L/V)-X1–5-Y-X1–5-(R/K)] in the transmembrane domain of IFNγR1 was also noted. The interaction of peptides representing this motif of IFNγR1 was studied with cholesterol-liposome and analogue-liposome with difference of two orders of magnitude in respective affinity (KD: 4.27×10−9 M versus 2.69×10−7 M). These observations reinforce the importance of cholesterol in the regulation of function of IFNγR1 proteins. This study clearly demonstrates that during its intracellular life-cycle LD perturbs IFNγR1 and IFNγR2 assembly and subsequent ligand driven signaling by quenching MØ membrane cholesterol.
Author Summary
The disease Visceral Leishmaniasis or Kala-azar is extending its base in the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere. The emergence of drug resistant cases is aggravating the problem further. The kala-azar patients do not respond to the host-protective cytokine IFNγ at the active stage of the disease, the cause of which is unknown. This research is designed to understand how cell surface receptors for IFNγ respond under parasitized condition. Our results clearly showed that the Leishmania parasites during their intracellular life-cycle make the host cell membrane fluid by quenching cholesterol from the membrane, which renders the IFNγR nonfunctional despite their physical presence on the cell surface. Upon supplementation of cholesterol in infected MØs, the infected cells regain responsiveness to IFNγ coupled with intracellular parasite killing. Thus supplementation of cholesterol together with IFNγ may be a new approach to treat drug unresponsive Kala-azar cases.
PMCID: PMC3169561  PMID: 21931549

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