Dietary omega-6, but not omega-3, polyunsaturated or saturated fatty acids increase inflammation in primary lung mesenchymal cells

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Journal Article
American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, 2018, 314 (6), pp. L922 - L935
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© 2018 American Physiological Society. All rights reserved. Obesity is an important risk factor for developing severe asthma. Dietary fatty acids, which are increased in sera of obese individuals and after high-fat meals, activate the innate immune system and induce inflammation. This study investigated whether dietary fatty acids directly cause inflammation and/or synergize with obesity-induced cytokines in primary human pulmonary fibroblasts in vitro. Fibroblasts were challenged with BSA-conjugated fatty acids [ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and ω-3 PUFAs or saturated fatty acids (SFAs)], with or without TNF-α, and release of the proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and CXCL8, was measured. We found that the ω-6 PUFA arachidonic acid (AA), but not ω-3 PUFAs or SFAs, upregulates IL-6 and CXCL8 release. Combined AA and TNF-α challenge resulted in substantially greater cytokine release than either alone, demonstrating synergy. Synergistic upregulation of IL-6, but not CXCL8, was mainly mediated via cyclooxygenase (COX). Inhibition of p38 MAPK reduced CXCL8 release, induced by AA and TNF-α alone, but not in combination. Synergistic CXCL8 release, following AA and TNF-α challenge, was not medicated via a single signaling pathway (MEK1, JNK, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, and NF-κB) nor by hyperactivation of NF-κB or p38. To investigate if these findings occur in other airway cells, effects of AA in primary human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells and human bronchial epithelial cells were also investigated. We found proinflammatory effects in ASM cells but not epithelial cells. This study suggests that diets rich in ω-6 PUFAs might promote airway inflammation via multiple pathways, including COX-depen-dent and-independent pathways, and in an obese person, may lead to more severe airway inflammation.
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