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Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids increase survival and decrease bacterial load during septic S. aureus infection, and improve neutrophil function in mice

Journal article
Authors Sara L Svahn
Louise Grahnemo
Vilborg Palsdottir
Intawat Nookaew
Karl Wendt
Britt G. Gabrielsson
Erik Scheele
Anna Benrick
Niklas Andersson
Staffan Nilsson
Maria E Johansson
John-Olov Jansson
Published in Infection and Immunity
Volume 83
Issue 2
Pages 514-21
ISSN 0019-9567
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics
Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Pages 514-21
Language en
Keywords S. aureus, septic infection, neutrophils, dietary fat, polyunsaturated high fat diet, saturated high fat diet
Subject categories Physiology, Bacteriology, Immunobiology, Nutrition and Dietetics


Severe infection, including sepsis, is an increasing clinical problem that causes prolonged morbidity and substantial mortality. At present, antibiotics are essentially the only pharmacological treatment for sepsis. The incidence of resistance to antibiotics is increasing and it is therefore critical to find new therapies for sepsis. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a major cause of septic mortality. Neutrophils play an important role in the defense against bacterial infections. We have shown that a diet with high levels of dietary saturated fatty acids decreases survival in septic mice, but the mechanisms behind remain elusive. The aim of the present study was to investigate how the differences in dietary fat composition affect survival and bacterial load after experimental septic infection and neutrophil function in uninfected mice. We found that, after S. aureus infection, mice fed polyunsaturated high fat diet (HFD/P) for 8 weeks had increased survival and decreased bacterial load during sepsis compared with mice fed saturated high fat diet (HFD/S), and similar to that of mice fed low fat diet (LFD). Uninfected mice fed HFD/P had increased frequency of neutrophils in bone marrow compared with mice fed HFD/S. In addition, mice fed HFD/P had a higher frequency of neutrophils recruited to the site of inflammation in response to peritoneal injection of thioglycollate compared with HFD/S. Differences between the proportion of dietary protein and carbohydrate did not affect septic survival at all. In conclusion, polyunsaturated dietary fat increased both survival and efficiency of bacterial clearance during septic S. aureus infection. Moreover, this diet increased the frequency and chemotaxis of neutrophils, key components of the immune response to S. aureus infections.

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