Dietary phytosterols modulate T-helper immune response but do not induce apparent anti-inflammatory effects in a mouse model of acute, aseptic inflammation

Laura Calpe-Berdiel, Joan Carles Escolà-Gil, Sonia Benítez, Cristina Bancells, Francesc González-Sastre, Xavier Palomer, Francisco Blanco-Vaca

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Abstract

Although most studies have focused on the cholesterol-lowering activity of phytosterols, other biological actions have been ascribed to these plant sterol compounds, one of which is a potential immune modulatory effect. To gain insight into this issue, we used a mouse model of acute, aseptic inflammation induced by a single subcutaneous turpentine injection. Hypercholesterolemic apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE-/-) mice, fed with or without a 2% phytosterol supplement, were treated with turpentine or saline and euthanized 48 h later. No differences were observed in spleen lymphocyte subsets between phytosterol- and control-fed apoE-/- mice. However, cultured spleen lymphocytes of apoE-/- mice fed with phytosterols and treated with turpentine showed increased IL-2 and IFN-γ secretion (T-helper type1, Th1 lymphocyte cytokines) compared with turpentine-treated, control-fed animals. In contrast, there was no change in Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-10. Phytosterols also inhibit intestinal cholesterol absorption in wild-type C57BL/6J mice but, in this case, without decreasing plasma cholesterol. Spleen lymphocytes of turpentine-treated C57BL/6J mice fed with phytosterols also showed increased IL-2 production, but IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-10 production was unchanged. The Th1/Th2 ratio was significantly increased both in phytosterol-fed apoE-/- and C57BL/6J mice. We conclude that phytosterols modulate the T-helper immune response in vivo, in part independently of their hypocholesterolemic effect in a setting of acute, aseptic inflammation. Further study of phytosterol effects on immune-based diseases characterized by an exacerbated Th2 response is thus of interest. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1956
JournalLife Sciences
Volume80
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

Keywords

  • Cytokines
  • Phytosterols
  • T-lymphocytes
  • Th1: Th2

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    Calpe-Berdiel, L., Escolà-Gil, J. C., Benítez, S., Bancells, C., González-Sastre, F., Palomer, X., & Blanco-Vaca, F. (2007). Dietary phytosterols modulate T-helper immune response but do not induce apparent anti-inflammatory effects in a mouse model of acute, aseptic inflammation. Life Sciences, 80(21), 1951-1956. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2007.02.032