DHA is a n-3 LCPUFA in fish oil that generally suppresses T lymphocyte function. However, the effect of fish oil on B cell function remains relatively understudied. Given the important role of B cells in gut immunity and increasing human fish oil supplementation, we sought to determine whether DFO leads to enhanced B cell activation in the SMAD-/- colitis-prone mouse model, similar to that observed with C57BL/6 mice.

This study tested the hypothesis that DHA from fish oil is incorporated into the B cell membrane to alter lipid microdomain clustering and enhance B cell function. Purified, splenic B cells from DFO-fed mice displayed increased DHA levels and diminished GM1 microdomain clustering. DFO enhanced LPS-induced B cell secretion of IL-6 and TNF-α and increased CD40 expression ex vivo compared with CON. Despite increased MHCII expression in the unstimulated ex vivo B cells from DFO-fed mice, we observed no difference in ex vivo OVA-FITC uptake in B cells from DFO or CON mice.

In vivo, DFO increased lymphoid tissue B cell populations and surface markers of activation compared with CON. Finally, we investigated whether these ex vivo and in vivo observations were consistent with systemic changes. Indeed, DFO-fed mice had significantly higher plasma IL-5, IL-13, and IL-9 (Th2-biasing cytokines) and cecal IgA compared with CON.

These results support the hypothesis and an emerging concept that fish oil enhances B cell function in vivo.

animal study