Recent studies indicate that the process of Ag presentation induces cytoskeleton-dependent mitochondrial redistribution to the immediate vicinity of the immunologic synapse (IS). This redistribution of mitochondria to the IS in T cells is necessary to maintain Ca(2+) influx and Th cell activation.

Recently, we demonstrated that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) suppress the localization and activation of signaling proteins at the IS. Therefore, we hypothesized that n-3 PUFAs suppress CD4(+) T cell mitochondrial translocation during the early stages of IS formation and downmodulate Ca(2+)-dependent Th cell activation. CD4(+) cells derived from fat-1 mice, a transgenic model that synthesizes n-3 PUFA from n-6 PUFA, were cocultured with anti-CD3-expressing hybridoma cells (145-2C11) for 15 min at 37 degrees C, and mitochondrial translocation to the IS was assessed by confocal microscopy. Fat-1 mice exhibited a significantly (p < 0.05) reduced percentage of T cells with mitochondria which translocated to the IS; fat-1 (30%) versus wild type control (82%). Regarding the effect on the mitochondrial-to-cytosolic Ca(2+) ratio, wild type cells showed significant increases at the IS (71%) and total cell (60%) within 30 min of IS formation. In contrast, fat-1 CD4(+) T cells remained at basal levels following the IS formation.

A similar blunting of the mitochondrial-to-cytosolic Ca(2+) ratio was observed in wild type cells that were coincubated with inhibitors of the mitochondrial uniporter, RU360 or calcium release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels, BTP2.

These observations provide evidence that n-3 PUFAs modulate Th cell activation by limiting mitochondrial translocation to the IS and reducing Ca(2+) entry.

PMID: 20393134

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