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Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Promote Neutrophil Accumulation in the Spleen by Altering Chemotaxis and Delaying Cell Death

Journal article
Authors Sara L Svahn
Saray Gutiérrez
Marcus A Ulleryd
I. Nookaew
Veronica Osla
Fredrik Beckman
Staffan Nilsson
Anna Karlsson
John-Olov Jansson
Maria E Johansson
Published in Infection and Immunity
Volume 87
Issue 8
ISSN 0019-9567
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Pathology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Language en
Keywords apoptosis, chemotaxis, dietary fatty acids, neutrophils, polyunsaturated fatty acids, bone-marrow, recruitment, release, chemokines, infection, migration, innate, cxcr4, Immunology, Infectious Diseases
Subject categories Infectious Medicine


Neutrophils are the most abundant circulating leukocytes in humans and are essential for the defense against invading pathogens. Like many other cells of an organism, neutrophils can be highly influenced by the diet. We have previously described that mice fed a high-fat diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (HFD-P) present a higher frequency of neutrophils in bone marrow than mice fed a high-fat diet rich in saturated fatty acids (HFD-S). Interestingly, such an increase correlated with improved survival against bacterium-induced sepsis. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of dietary polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids on neutrophil homeostasis. We found that HFD-P specifically induced the accumulation of neutrophils in the marginal pools of the spleen and liver. The accumulation of neutrophils in the spleen was a result of a dual effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids on neutrophil homeostasis. First, polyunsaturated fatty acids enhanced the recruitment of neutrophils from the circulation into the spleen via chemokine secretion. Second, they delayed neutrophil cell death in the spleen. Interestingly, these effects were not observed in mice fed a diet rich in saturated fatty acids, suggesting that the type of fat rather than the amount of fat mediates the alterations in neutrophil homeostasis. In conclusion, our results show that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids have a strong modulatory effect on neutrophil homeostasis that may have future clinical applications.

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