Fatty acids, inflammation and immune responses

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1993 Jan;48(1):57-62. doi: 10.1016/0952-3278(93)90010-t.


Evidence obtained from experiments in vitro and in vivo suggests that certain unsaturated fatty acids (FA) may be safe and effective antiinflammatory and immunomodulatory agents. Generation of a unique eicosanoid profile with different biological effects by administration of FA precursors other than arachidonic acid is one approach under investigation. In addition to their role as eicosanoid precursors, FA are of major importance in maintaining cell membrane structure, are key determinants of membrane bound enzyme activity and receptor expression. FA can exert these functions directly and therefore may themselves be important regulators of immune responses. For example, certain FA influence cytokine production and proliferation of human T lymphocytes in a manner that is direct and not due to their conversion to eicosanoids. The observations indicate that FA can modulate immune responses by acting directly on T-cells and suggest that alteration of cellular FA may be a worthwhile approach to control of inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Alprostadil / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Arachidonic Acid / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Eicosanoids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cytokines
  • Dietary Fats
  • Eicosanoids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Essential
  • Interleukin-2
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Alprostadil
  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid