Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are present in biological membranes and influence membrane fluidity and immune responses. PUFAs such as 18:2n-6 and 18:3n-3 cannot be synthesized de novo in mammals and are thus called essential fatty acids (EFAs). In addition, PUFAs can be converted to very long-chain PUFAs (VLC-PUFAs), such as arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, in the body. Although avoiding allergens is an effective strategy for food-allergy patients, the dietary exclusion of several allergens reportedly induces deficiencies in essential nutrients such as PUFAs. In this study, we investigated whether an EFA-deficient (EFAD) diet influenced allergic symptoms in ovalbumin (OVA)-immunized mice. Unexpectedly, no exacerbation of immune responses after OVA-sensitization was observed in mice fed an EFAD diet, and no differences in serum PUFA levels between OVA-immunized and non-immunized mice fed the EFAD diet were detected. However, levels of VLC-PUFAs in the small intestine increased after OVA-sensitization and did not decrease during EFAD diet administration, showing that small intestinal VLC-PUFAs levels were strongly preserved in the food-allergy model mice. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms by which small intestinal VLC-PUFAs are retained in food-allergy model mice.
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