Dietary fat affects immune response, production of antiviral factors, and immune complex disease in NZB/NZW mice.


Autoimmune-prone (NZB x NZW)F1 (B/W) mice fed three nearly isocaloric diets with varied fat content showed a marked difference in their spontaneous development of immune complex disease and their immune response. Those animals received the diets high in either unsaturated or saturated fats had more severe immune complex nephritis and died earlier than mice on the low-fat diet. Endogenous production of the mouse xenotropic virus was unaffected by dietary fats, but the serum lipoproteins associated with antiviral activity were increased to levels as high as 1:600,000 in the B/W mice on the high-fat diets. These lipoproteins may be partially responsible for the decreased mitogenic response of spleen cells from mice fed the two high-fat diets. The mice receiving a diet high in saturated fats produced substantially higher titers of natural thymocytotoxic autoantibody, an IgM class of antibody, than did the mice maintained either on the high-unsaturated-fat or low-fat diet. In contrast, the mice receiving the diet high in unsaturated fats made significantly greater levels of antibodies to double-stranded DNA, an IgG, than did the mice kept on the two other diets. These results suggest that the type of fat in the diet could affect the serum level of different immunoglobulin classes. The data provide further evidence that the amount of dietary lipids alone can influence cellular and humoral immune responses and the spontaneous development of immune complex disease.

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