Effect of dietary n-6-to-n-3 fatty acid ratio on complete blood and total white blood cell counts, and T-cell subpopulations in aged dogs

Am J Vet Res. 1999 Mar;60(3):319-27.


Objective: To determine effect of diets with variable n-6-to-n-3 fatty acid (FA) ratio on CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocyte subpopulations, and on results of routine laboratory analyses (CBC and total WBC count, serum biochemical analyses, and urinalysis).

Animals: 20 healthy, aged (9.5 to 11.5 years old) female Beagles.

Procedure: Dogs were fed 1 of 3 diets that contained 6% fat by weight but differed in amounts of n-6 and n-3 FA. For 11 weeks, 6 dogs were fed a low concentration of n-3 FA (ratio, 31:1), 7 were fed a medium concentration (5.4:1), and 7 were fed a high concentration (1.4:1). Preprandial blood and urine samples were collected before beginning the study and at 8 weeks for evaluation of laboratory variables. Before and at 3, 6, and 8 weeks during the study, blood was drawn for total WBC and lymphocyte counts and for characterization of T-cell subpopulations. At 8 and 10 weeks, dogs were vaccinated with keyhole limpet hemocyanin suspension. Blood was drawn 4 days after each vaccination, and lymphocytes were isolated for flow cytometry. Effects of diet and vaccination on each variable were determined.

Results: After vaccination, total lymphocyte count increased and CD4+ T lymphocyte count and the CD4(+)-to-CD8+ ratio decreased in dogs consuming the diet with n-6-to-n-3 FA ratio of 1.4:1.

Conclusion: Feeding a diet with n-6-to-n-3 FA ratio of 1.4:1 had significant effects on CD4+ T lymphocytes in healthy, aged Beagles after vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Blood Cell Count / drug effects
  • Blood Cell Count / veterinary*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Dogs / blood*
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / veterinary
  • Immunophenotyping / veterinary
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2