Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
versão On-line ISSN 1414-431X
POMPEIA, C. et al. Effect of fatty acids on leukocyte function. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2000, vol.33, n.11, pp. 1255-1268. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2000001100001.
Fatty acids have various effects on immune and inflammatory responses, acting as intracellular and intercellular mediators. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) of the omega-3 family have overall suppressive effects, inhibiting lymphocyte proliferation, antibody and cytokine production, adhesion molecule expression, natural killer cell activity and triggering cell death. The omega-6 PUFAs have both inhibitory and stimulatory effects. The most studied of these is arachidonic acid that can be oxidized to eicosanoids, such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes, all of which are potent mediators of inflammation. Nevertheless, it has been found that many of the effects of PUFA on immune and inflammatory responses are not dependent on eicosanoid generation. Fatty acids have also been found to modulate phagocytosis, reactive oxygen species production, cytokine production and leukocyte migration, also interfering with antigen presentation by macrophages. The importance of fatty acids in immune function has been corroborated by many clinical trials in which patients show improvement when submitted to fatty acid supplementation. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain fatty acid modulation of immune response, such as changes in membrane fluidity and signal transduction pathways, regulation of gene transcription, protein acylation, and calcium release. In this review, evidence is presented to support the proposition that changes in cell metabolism also play an important role in the effect of fatty acids on leukocyte functioning, as fatty acids regulate glucose and glutamine metabolism and mitochondrial depolarization.
Palavras-chave : fatty acids; immune system; inflammation; dietary lipids; leukocytes.