Anti-inflammatory n-3 fatty acids (FA) like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) opposed to the pro-inflammatory n-6 FA arachidonic acid (AA) might modulate lipid rafts within the cell membrane by differential incorporation. In inflammation, monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells is a crucial step mediated by intracellular calcium changes. We investigated whether lipid rafts mediate FA-induced modulation of adhesion and intracellular calcium.
In isolated human monocytes and monocytic U937 cells we measured adhesion to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) using a parallel flow chamber and a static assay, adhesion molecules by FACScan, and intracellular calcium by fluorescence. Monocyte lipid rafts were isolated by ultracentrifugation and submitted to gas chromatography for FA analysis.
Pre-incubation with AA or DHA resulted in a predominant incorporation of the respective FA into raft compared to non-raft fraction. DHA as compared to AA significantly reduced monocyte adhesion and calcium release after stimulation with TNF-α while expression of adhesion molecules remained unchanged. Pre-treatment with a calcium chelator abolished the effect of FA on calcium and adhesion. Disruption of lipid rafts prevented FA-induced modulations.
Incorporation of FA into lipid rafts seem to be crucial for modulation of adhesion under inflammatory conditions.