An overview of the modulatory effects of oleic acid in health and disease

Mini Rev Med Chem. 2013 Feb;13(2):201-10.


Evidences in the last years have showed the effects of oleic acid (OA) in human health and disease. Olive oil, rich in oleic acid, is supposed to present modulatory effects in a wide physiological functions, while some studies also suggest a beneficial effect on cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, besides its ability to facilitate wound healing. Although the OA role in immune responses are still controversial, the administration of olive oil containing diets may improve the immune response associated to a more successful elimination of pathogens such as bacteria and fungi, by interfering in many components of this system such as macrophages, lymphocytes and neutrophils. Then, novel putative therapies for inflammatory and infectious diseases could be developed based on the characteristics presented by unsaturated fatty acids like OA. Finally, the purpose of this work was to review some of the modulatory effects of OA on inflammatory diseases and health, aiming at high lightening its potential role on the future establishment of novel therapeutic approaches for infections, inflammatory, immune, cardiovascular diseases or skin repair based on this fatty acid mainly found in the Mediterranean diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diet therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Communicable Diseases / diet therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Oleic Acid / immunology
  • Oleic Acid / metabolism
  • Oleic Acid / pharmacology
  • Oleic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Olive Oil
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism
  • Plant Oils / metabolism
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing


  • Olive Oil
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Plant Oils
  • Oleic Acid