Inflammatory bowel disease is an intestinal inflammatory disorder of multifactorial origin, in which diets that favor high n-6 and low n-3 fatty acids have been implicated. The present study addressed whether dietary n-6 and n-3 fatty acids alter colonic mucosal response to Citrobacter rodentium (C. rodentium) infection.

Mice were fed diets identical except for fatty acids, with an energy percentage of 15% 18:2n-6 and <0.06% 18:3n-3, 4.2% 18:2n-6 and 1.9% 18:3n-3, or 1.44% 20:5n-3, 4.9% 22:6n-3, 0.32% 18:2n-6, and 0.12% 18:3n-3 from safflower, canola, or fish oil, respectively for 3 wk before infection.

Dietary oils had no effect on colonic C. rodentium growth but altered colon 20:4n-6/(20:5n-3+22:6n-3) with 9.40 ± 0.06, 1.94 ± 0.08, and 0.32 ± 0.03% in colon phosphatidylcholine and 3.82 ± 0.18, 1.14 ± 0.02, and 0.30 ± 0.02% in phosphatidylethanolamine of mice fed safflower, canola, or fish oil, respectively. At 10 days postinfection, histological damage, F4/80-positive macrophages, and myeloperoxidase-positive neutrophils in colonic mucosa were higher in infected mice fed safflower than fish oil. Colon gene transcripts for macrophage inflammatory protein 2, keratinocyte cytokine, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 expression were significantly higher in infected mice fed safflower than canola or fish oil; IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-17A expression were significantly elevated in mice fed safflower rather than fish oil; and IL-10 was significantly higher in mice fed fish oil rather than canola or safflower oil.

This study demonstrates that oils high in 18:2n-6 with minimal n-3 fatty acids exacerbate mucosal immune response, whereas oils high in n-3 fatty acids attenuate mucosal immune response to C. rodentium. These studies implicate dietary oils as environmental modifiers of intestinal inflammation in response to infection.

PMID: 23518681

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