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In experimental studies in mice, dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids (FA) alleviates inflammation and increases resistance to infection. Nevertheless, TNF production capacity was found to be increased in n-3 FA-fed mice. We previously found increased relative spleen weights in n-3 FA-fed mice. In this study, the nature of this increased spleen size was further investigated. Spleen cellularity was increased significantly in mice fed n-3 FA (fish oil 15% w/w), compared with controls fed corn oil (15%) or normal lab chow (p < 0.05). Experiments with T cell-deficient nude mice and experiments using macrophage depletion through liposomal dichloromethylene-biphosphonate revealed that the increase in spleen cellularity is T cell independent and largely due to macrophage accumulation in the spleen. Accumulation of marginal zone and red pulp macrophages was histologically and immunohistochemically confirmed. n-3 FA induced peripheral blood monocytosis and an aspecific increase in bone marrow cellularity. Postendotoxin circulating TNF concentrations were increased significantly in n-3 FA-fed mice compared with controls. Splenectomy did not abolish this increase in circulating TNF. However, after macrophage depletion through liposomal dichloromethylene-biphosphonate, circulating TNF was not detectable after endotoxin challenge. Circulating concentrations of CSF-1 did not differ between the various experimental groups. It is suggested that the cellular changes observed relate to increased constitutive production of TNF.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





5569 - 5573


Animals, Bone Marrow Cells, Diet, Fatty Acids, Unsaturated, Female, Fish Oils, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Macrophages, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Nude, Spleen, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha