Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid modulation of immune cell function before or after trauma

Nutrition. 1995 Jan-Feb;11(1):1-11.


We describe the role of increased eicosanoid production in inducing immunodepression associated with shock and trauma and the potential mechanisms by which prostaglandins produce immunosuppression. The effects of prefeeding with a diet high in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in preventing trauma-induced immunosuppression, and of such a diet on cellular immunity in patients after trauma are described. The potential mechanisms by which enteral diets containing n-3 PUFAs produce beneficial effects are also discussed. Although there is controversy concerning the immunomodulatory mechanisms of this diet, most of the information available indicates that dietary supplementation with n-3 PUFAs may prevent immunosuppression after trauma. Further studies are needed, however, to determine the precise composition and duration of supplementation with n-3 PUFAs that prevent the deleterious immune responses but do not alter normal immunoresponsiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Eicosanoids / biosynthesis
  • Eicosanoids / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / etiology
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / immunology*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Eicosanoids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3