Common and differential effects of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid on helper T-cell responses and associated pathways

Jaeho Lee, Yu Ri Choi, Miso Kim, Jung Mi Park, Moonjong Kang, Jaewon Oh, Chan Joo Lee, Sungha Park, Seok Min Kang, Ichiro Manabe, Soo Jin Ann, Sang Hak Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Our understanding of the differential effects between specific omega-3 fatty acids is incomplete. Here, we aimed to evaluate the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on T-helper type 1 (Th1) cell responses and identify the pathways associated with these responses. Naïve CD4+ T cells were co-cultured with bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs) in the presence or absence of palmitate (PA), DHA, or EPA. DHA or EPA treatment lowered the number of differentiated IFN-γ-positive cells and inhibited the secretion of IFN-y, whereas only DHA increased IL-2 and reduced TNF-αsecretion. There was reduced expression of MHC II on DCs after DHA or EPA treatment. In the DC-independent model, DHA and EPA reduced Th1 cell differentiation and lowered the cell number. DHA and EPA markedly inhibited IFN-γsecretion, while only EPA reduced TNF-α secretion. Microarray analysis identified pathways involved in inflammation, immunity, metabolism, and cell proliferation. Moreover, DHA and EPA inhibited Th1 cells through the regulation of diverse pathways and genes, including Igf1 and Cpt1a. Our results showed that DHA and EPA had largely comparable inhibitory effects on Th1 cell differentiation. However, each of the fatty acids also had distinct effects on specific cytokine secretion, particularly according to the presence of DCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
JournalBMB reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean government (grant numbers: 20181D1A1B07043855 and 2019R1F1A1057952). The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. by the The Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All Rights Reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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