Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid-Derived Lipid Mediators and T Cell Function

Anna Nicolaou, Claudio Mauro, Paula Urquhart, Federica Marelli-Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


Fatty acids are involved in T cell biology both as nutrients important for energy production as well as signaling molecules. In particular, polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to exhibit a range of immunomodulatory properties that progress through T cell mediated events, although the molecular mechanisms of these actions have not yet been fully elucidated. Some of these immune activities are linked to polyunsaturated fatty acid-induced alteration of the composition of cellular membranes and the consequent changes in signaling pathways linked to membrane raft-associated proteins. However, significant aspects of the polyunsaturated fatty acid bioactivities are mediated through their transformation to specific lipid mediators, products of cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase, or cytochrome P450 enzymatic reactions. Resulting bioactive metabolites including prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and endocannabinoids are produced by and/or act upon T leukocytes through cell surface receptors and have been shown to alter T cell activation and differentiation, proliferation, cytokine production, motility, and homing events. Detailed appreciation of the mode of action of these lipids presents opportunities for the design and development of therapeutic strategies aimed at regulating T cell function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2014


  • T cells
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • eicosanoids
  • prostaglandins
  • leukotrienes
  • cyclooxygenase
  • lipoxygenase
  • ndocannabinoids


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