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Feeding a Diet Enriched in Docosahexaenoic Acid to Lactating Dams Improves the Tolerance Response to Egg Protein in Suckled Pups

Richard, Caroline, Lewis, Erin D., Goruk, Susan, Field, Catherine J.
Nutrients 2016 v.8 no.2
T-lymphocytes, diet, docosahexaenoic acid, eggs, immunoglobulin E, interleukin-10, interleukin-13, lactation, maternal nutrition, mitogens, nutritional adequacy, ovalbumin, placebos, progeny, pups, splenocytes, suckling, transforming growth factor beta
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of feeding a maternal diet supplemented with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during the suckling period on the development of the immune system and oral tolerance (OT) in offspring. Dams were randomized to consume one of two nutritionally adequate diets throughout the suckling period: control (N = 12, 0% DHA) or DHA (N = 8, 0.9% DHA) diet. At 11 days, pups from each dam were randomly assigned to a mucosal OT challenge: the placebo or the ovalbumin (OVA) treatment. At three weeks, plasma immunoglobulins and splenocyte cytokine production ex vivo were measured. OVA-tolerized pups had a lower Th2 (IL-13) response to OVA despite the presence of more activated T cells and memory cells (CD27+, all p < 0.05). Feeding a high DHA diet improved the ability of splenocytes to respond to mitogens toward a skewed Th1 response and led to a higher IL-10 and a lower TGF-β production after stimulation with OVA (all p < 0.05). Untolerized DHA-fed pups had lower plasma concentrations of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (p for interaction < 0.05). Overall, feeding a high DHA maternal diet improves the tolerance response in untolerized suckled pups in a direction that is thought to be beneficial for the establishment of OT.