DHA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation affects infants' cellular but not humoral immune response

Mediators Inflamm. 2011;2011:493925. doi: 10.1155/2011/493925. Epub 2011 Sep 18.


Background: It is currently recommended that diet of pregnant mothers contain 200-300 mg DHA/day. Aim. To determine whether DHA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation affects infants' immune response.

Methods: 60 women in ≥3rd pregnancy studied; 30 randomly assigned to receive DHA 400 mg/day from 12th week gestation until 4 months postpartum. From breast-fed infants, blood obtained for anti-HBs antibodies, immunoglobulins, lymphocyte subset phenotyping, and intracellular cytokine production.

Results: CD4+ lymphocytes did not differ between groups, but CD4CD45RA/CD4 (naïve cells) significantly higher in infants in DHA+ group. Proportion of CD4 and CD8 cells producing IFN(γ) significantly lower in DHA+ group, with no differences in proportion of IL4-producing cells. Immunoglobulins and anti-HBs levels did not differ between groups.

Conclusions: In infants of mothers receiving DHA supplementation, a higher percentage of CD4 naïve cells and decreased CD4 and CD8 IFN(γ) production is compatible with attenuation of a proinflammatory response.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology*
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Lactation / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Docosahexaenoic Acids