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Cold-pressed flaxseed oil reverses age-associated depression in a primary cell-mediated adaptive immune response in the mouse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

L. M. Hillyer
Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
A. M. Sandiford
Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
C. E. Gray
Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
Bill Woodward*
Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
*Corresponding author: fax +1 519 763 5902 email
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The objective of this investigation was to determine the influence of flaxseed oil on responses representative of primary humoral and cell-mediated adaptive immune competence in immunosenescent mice. Male and female C57BL/6J mice, 85 weeks old, were randomized between two complete purified diets differing only in oil source (cold-pressed safflower or flaxseed). After 8 weeks, humoral competence was assessed in six mice per group as the serum haemagglutinin titre to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) and cell-mediated competence was assessed, in an additional six mice per group, as the delayed hypersensitivity response to SRBC. A zero-time control group (88 weeks old) and a young adult positive control group (12 weeks old) were each tested similarly (six per immune response), revealing age-related depression in both antibody and cell-mediated competence at 88 weeks of age. After the 8-week experimental period, the antibody response of the two test groups of geriatric mice remained below the young adult level (P=0·04) and the cell-mediated response of the saffloweroil group also continued to exhibit age-related depression (20% of young adult level, P=0·0002). By contrast, the anti-SRBC delayedhypersensitivity response of the flaxseed group no longer differed from the response of the young adults but exceeded that of the safflower and zero-time control senescent groups (P=0·0002). Depression in primary cell-mediated competence, the most outstanding aspect of immunosenescence, can be addressed by means of a dietary source of 18:3n-3 without longer-chain PUFA.

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Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006


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