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Monounsaturated fats and immune function

Yaqoob, P. (1998) Monounsaturated fats and immune function. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 31 (4). pp. 453-465. ISSN 1414-431X

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Abstract/Summary

Animal studies suggest that olive oil is capable of modulating functions of cells of the immune system in a manner similar to, albeit weaker than, fish oils. There is some evidence that the effects of olive oil on immune function in animal studies are due to oleic acid rather than to trace elements or antioxidants. Importantly, several studies have demonstrated effects of oleic acid-containing diets on in vivo immune responses. In contrast, consumption of a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA)-rich diet by humans does not appear to bring about a general suppression of immune cell functions. The effects of this diet in humans are limited to decreasing aspects of adhesion of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, although there are trends towards decreases in natural killer cell activity and proliferation. The lack of a clear effect of MUFA in humans may be attributable to the higher level of monounsaturated fat used in the animal studies, although it is ultimately of importance to examine the effects of intakes which are in no way extreme. The effects of MUFA on adhesion molecules are potentially important, since these molecules appear to have a role in the pathology of a number of diseases involving the immune system. This area clearly deserves further exploration.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:68802

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