van vlies, N., Hogenkamp, A., Fear, A.L, van Esch, B.C., Oosting, A., van de Heijning, B., van der Beek, E., Calder, P.C. and Garssen, J.
Perinatal programming of murine immune responses by polyunsaturated fatty acids
Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 2, (2), . (doi:10.1017/S204017441000067X).
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Linoleic acid and ?-linolenic acid are essential fatty acids (eFAs) and have to be acquired from the diet. eFAs are the precursors for long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (lcPUFAs), which are important immune-modulating compounds. lcPUFAs can be converted into eicosanoids and other mediators. They affect membrane structure and fluidity and can alter gene expression. There has been a marked change in dietary fatty acid intake over the last several decades. Since eFAs are acquired from the diet and immune development occurs mainly perinatally, the maternal diet may influence fetal and neonatal eFA levels, and thereby lcPUFA status, and thus immune development and function. To study whether early exposure to eFAs can program immune function, mice were fed diets varying in the ratio of ?-3 to ?-6-eFAs during pregnancy and/or lactation. After weaning, pups received a Western-style diet. At 11 weeks of age, the effects of maternal diet on the offspring's allergic and vaccination responses were examined using the T-helper 2 driven ovalbumin-induced allergy model and the T-helper 1 driven influenza-vaccination model, respectively. Offspring of dams fed a high ?-linolenic acid diet during lactation showed an enhanced vaccination response. As diets with either low or high ?-3/?-6-eFA ratio attenuated the T-helper 2 allergic response, the high ?-linolenic acid diet fed during lactation had the most pronounced effect. These results indicate that there is a programming effect of maternal diet on the offspring's immune response and that in mice the window of greatest susceptibility to maternal dietary intervention is the lactation/suckling period
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