1 Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark3 Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Technical University of Denmark4 Technical University of Denmark
n-3 PUFA are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects. However, there has been only limited study on the kinetics of incorporation and depletion of n-3 PUFA in immune cells. In the present study we investigated the incorporation and depletion of n-3 PUFA in erythrocytes and leukocytes in mice during a 6-wk feeding period. Over the first 3-wk period (the incorporation period) the mice were fed a special diet with a high n-3/n-6 PUFA ratio. In the following 3-wk period (the depletion period) the mice were fed a standard chow diet. A linear increase of the concentration of EPA and DHA in erythrocyte membranes was observed during the incorporation period, whereas a stagnation was observed after the second week for leukocytes. The level of EPA did not fall to the background level after the depletion period, and the level of DHA was kept almost constant during the depletion period in the erythrocyte membranes. In leukocytes the concentration of both EPA and DHA decreased during the depletion period, but did not reach the background level after the 3-wk depletion. In conclusion, the kinetics of EPA and DHA in the different cells are different. The rate of incorporation is faster than that of depletion for n-3 PUFA. More n-3 PUFA can be incorporated into leukocytes in comparison with erythrocytes. The ratio of n-3/n-6 PUFA is more important than the amount of n-3 FA in changing the FA compositions of membrane lipids.