Dietary coconut oil ameliorates skin contact hypersensitivity through mead acid production in mice

Allergy. 2019 Aug;74(8):1522-1532. doi: 10.1111/all.13762. Epub 2019 Apr 10.


Coconut oil is used as a dietary oil worldwide, and its healthy effects are recognized by the fact that coconut oil is easy to digest, helps in weight management, increases healthy cholesterol, and provides instant energy. Although topical application of coconut oil is known to reduce skin infection and inflammation, whether dietary coconut oil has any role in decreasing skin inflammation is unknown. In this study, we showed the impact of dietary coconut oil in allergic skin inflammation by using a mouse model of contact hypersensitivity (CHS). Mice maintained on coconut oil showed amelioration of skin inflammation and increased levels of cis-5, 8, 11-eicosatrienoic acid (mead acid) in serum. Intraperitoneal injection of mead acid inhibited CHS and reduced the number of neutrophils infiltrating to the skin. Detailed mechanistic studies unveiled that mead acid inhibited the directional migration of neutrophils by inhibiting the filamentous actin polymerization and leukotriene B4 production required for secondary recruitment of neutrophils. Our findings provide valuable insights into the preventive roles of coconut oil and mead acid against skin inflammation, thereby offering attractive therapeutic possibilities.

Keywords: LTB4; coconut oil; mead acid; neutrophils; skin inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Chemotaxis / immunology
  • Coconut Oil / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Contact / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukotriene B4 / biosynthesis
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology


  • Actins
  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Leukotriene B4
  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid
  • mead acid
  • Coconut Oil