Background: This study explores the role of lymphatics-associated adipocytes in determining the lipid composition of dendritic cells.
Methods and results: Adult male rats were fed plain chow, or chow supplemented with 20% sunflower or fish oil. Chronic local inflammation was induced by subcutaneous injection of 20 microg lipopolysaccharide three times a week for 2 weeks near the popliteal lymph nodes. Chemokine-stimulated dendritic cells were collected over 4 hours from popliteal and mesenteric lymph nodes, and perinodal and other samples of mesenteric, popliteal, and omental adipose tissue. Fatty acids extracted from triacylglycerols and/or phospholipids were separated and quantified by gas chromatography from each sample of dendritic cells and intracellular lipids, membranes, stroma and isolated adipocytes from the adipose tissue. Dendritic cells from lymph nodes and adipose tissue samples differed in fatty acid composition, and were modulated by diet. The site-specific differences of dendritic cells correlated with those of the contiguous adipocytes. Chronic mild stimulation altered the lipid composition of dendritic cells near the inflamed site and elsewhere; changes were minimal after the fish-oil diet. The composition of adipocyte triacylglycerol and phospholipid fatty acids also changed near the stimulation site in ways that counteracted alterations induced by the experimental diets.
Conclusions: Fatty acids in dendritic cells differed with anatomical site, and were determined by the adjacent adipocytes, which actively regulated their own lipid composition. These findings demonstrated functional bases for the anatomical associations between adipose and lymphoid tissues and may be a mechanism by which dietary lipids modulate the immune system.