, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 47–57 | Cite as

A High Omega-3 Fatty Acid Diet has Different Effects on Early and Late Stage Myeloid Progenitors

  • Melinda E. Varney
  • James T. Buchanan
  • Yulia Dementieva
  • W. Elaine Hardman
  • Vincent E. Sollars
Original Article


The effects of the polyunsaturated omega-3 (n-3) and omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids (FA) on hematopoiesis are complex in that both FA forms are processed into leukotrienes, eicosanoids, and prostaglandins, which can have independent effects. These FA have antagonistic effects in that n-6 FA prostaglandins tend to be pro-proliferative and pro-inflammatory, while the effects of n-3 FA prostaglandins are the opposite. We have previously shown that diets high in n-3 FA reduce the size of the middle to later stage myeloid progenitor compartment in FVB X sv129 F1hybrid mice. To assay the effects of high n-3 FA diets on earlier stages of myelopoiesis, we fed C57BL/6J mice diets high in n-3 FA or levels of n-3/n-6 FA similar to western diets and assayed the effects on myelopoiesis with flow cytometry and colony forming cell assays. Results indicate an expansion of the common myeloid progenitor cell compartment in high n-3 FA diets, which does not persist into later stages where the number of progenitor cells is actually lower in high n-3 FA fed animals. Investigations in vitro with the hematopoietic stem cell line EML-clone 1 indicate that cells cultured with eicosapentaenoic acid (n-3 FA) or arachidonic acid (n-6 FA) have no differences in cell viability but that arachidonic acid more rapidly produces progenitors with low levels of the macrophage developmental marker, F4/80.


Omega fatty acids EPA DHA Immunology Stem cells Progenitor cells Bone marrow Nutrition 







Arachidonic acid


α Linolenic acid

AIN-76A diet

American institute of nutrition 76A diet




all-trans Retinoic acid


Baby hamster kidney


Colony forming cell(s)


Colony forming unit granulocyte–macrophage


Colony forming unit macrophage


Common myeloid progenitor(s)




Docosahexaenoic acid


Docosapentaenoic acid


Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


Erythroid myeloid lymphoid


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Fatty acid(s)


Fragment crystallizable receptor γ


Forward scatter


Granulocyte–macrophage progenitor(s)


Hematopoietic stem cell(s)




Interleukin-7 receptor α


Linoleic acid


Megakaryocyte–erythrocyte progenitor




Phosphate-buffered saline


Stem cell factor


Side scatter



This work was supported by NIH grants 1R03 CA129790 to VES, 1R01 CA114018 to WEH, COBRE (5P20RR020180) to Richard M. Niles, and the WV-INBRE Program (5P20RR016477) to Gary O. Rankin, as well as with support from the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium issued by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Grant Number NNG05GF80H. We would like to acknowledge John Wilkinson IV for assistance in discussion of results.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melinda E. Varney
    • 1
  • James T. Buchanan
    • 1
  • Yulia Dementieva
    • 2
  • W. Elaine Hardman
    • 1
  • Vincent E. Sollars
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and MicrobiologyMarshall University School of MedicineHuntingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsEmmanuel CollegeBostonUSA

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