Mechanisms of the Effect of Dietary Fatty Acids on Immune Function

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While it is widely recognized that dietary fatty acids can potentially alter immune and inflammatory responses, current understanding of how they act is incomplete. Several candidate mechanisms have been proposed, including alterations in membrane structure and composition, changes in membranemediated functions and signals (i.e. proteins, eicosanoids), changes in gene expression and effects on the development of the immune system (Fig. 4.3).

( Fatty acidS)

Membrane phospholipids

Membrane phospholipids

Eicosanoids -O- Signal-transduction --pathways

Fluidity

Eicosanoids -O- Signal-transduction --pathways

Fluidity

  • Receptors j ( Enzymes )
  • Cytokines j
  • Receptors j ( Enzymes )

Inflammatory and immune cell function

Inflammatory and immune cell function

Fig. 4.3. Mechanisms whereby fatty acids might exert effects on immune cell function.

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