Effects of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids on Mycobacterium tuberculosis in macrophages and in mice

Luisa Jordao, Andreas Lengeling, Yann Bordat, Frederic Boudou, Brigitte Gicquel, Olivier Neyrolles, Pablo D Becker, Carlos A Guzman, Gareth Griffiths, Elsa Anes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We recently showed that treatment of macrophages prior to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection with the pro-inflammatory omega-6 lipid, arachidonic acid (AA) enhanced bacterial killing whereas the anti-inflammatory, omega-3 lipid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) stimulated bacterial growth. Here we tested if these effects were depending on when lipids were added to macrophages: before or during Mycobacterium smegmatis or M. tuberculosis infection. Collectively, our data suggested that a high omega-6 diet might be beneficial against mycobacteriosis, while a high omega-3 diet might be detrimental. AA also stimulated TNF-alpha secretion in M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages whereas EPA inhibited this process. AA strongly activated the MAP kinase p38 in uninfected cells but M. tuberculosis infected cells blocked the ability of AA to activate p38; AA-dependent killing is therefore independent of p38. We therefore tested diets enriched in omega-3 and omega-6 lipids on a mouse model of tuberculosis. In contrast to the in vitro results, the omega-6 tended to increase survival of M. tuberculosis in mice, while omega-3- tended to increase pathogen killing. Overall our results together with those previously reported in the literature suggest that it is almost impossible to predict, at the whole organism level, if a diet enriched in omega-3 or -6 will be beneficial or detrimental to intracellular pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-86
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobes and Infection
Issue number12-13
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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