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. 2019 Oct 11;20(20):5028.
doi: 10.3390/ijms20205028.

Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells

Free PMC article

Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells

Saray Gutiérrez et al. Int J Mol Sci. .
Free PMC article


Alterations on the immune system caused by omega-3 fatty acids have been described for 30 years. This family of polyunsaturated fatty acids exerts major alterations on the activation of cells from both the innate and the adaptive immune system, although the mechanisms for such regulation are diverse. First, as a constitutive part of the cellular membrane, omega-3 fatty acids can regulate cellular membrane properties, such as membrane fluidity or complex assembly in lipid rafts. In recent years, however, a new role for omega-3 fatty acids and their derivatives as signaling molecules has emerged. In this review, we describe the latest findings describing the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on different cells from the immune system and their possible molecular mechanisms.

Keywords: ALA; DHA; EPA; PUFAs; anti-inflammatory; antibody production; cytokines; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; immune cells; immune response; immune-modulation; migration; omega-3 fatty acids; phagocytosis; polyunsaturated fatty acids; presentation; α-linolenic acid.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Main biochemical pathways for the synthesis of omega-3 derived metabolites. The figure shows the omega-3 fatty acids α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), their downstream metabolites and the enzymes regulating their synthesis.

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