The effects of different dietary fats on peritoneal macrophage plasma membrane fluidity, intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) production, GTP hydrolysis and TNF binding and TNF-induced IL1 and IL6 production was investigated.

After a four week period, fluidity, as determined by both fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and anisotropy was lowest and highest in animals fed corn and fish oil respectively.

After eight weeks feeding, lateral membrane movements were decreased substantially in fish, olive and coconut oil fed dietary groups, whereas an increase in the corn oil fed group was observed, no effect was observed in macrophages from the butter fed group.

However, an increase in the packing was observed in macrophages from all dietary groups except in the olive oil fed group. GTPase values for the coconut oil and butter groups were higher than in any other dietary group. After receiving the diet for 8 weeks these differences between the groups were no longer apparent. Exposure of macrophages to TNF had no effect on the rate of GTP hydrolysis.

A major enhancement of cAMP production became apparent between weeks 4 and 8 of dietary treatment. After 4 weeks on the diet, values were significantly higher from cells of animals fed corn and olive oils than from animals fed fish oil.

After 8 weeks, while there was a general enhancement of production, further differences became apparent. Feeding corn and coconut oils resulted in the highest values and olive oil and chow in the lowest.

It is proposed that fats rich in n-3 fatty acids (fish oils) alter membrane fluidity, decrease TNF binding affinity, GTPase activity and cAMP production which appears not to modify cytokine production after short term dietary supplementation.

However, after long term feeding it appears that increases in the sensitivity of the TNF receptors plays a major role in modifying cytokine production.