Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids increase survival and decrease bacterial load during septic S. aureus infection, and improve neutrophil function in mice
Journal article, 2015

Severe infection, including sepsis, is an increasing clinical problem that causes prolonged morbidity and substantial mortality. At present, antibiotics are essentially the only pharmacological treatment for sepsis. The incidence of resistance to antibiotics is increasing and it is therefore critical to find new therapies for sepsis. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a major cause of septic mortality. Neutrophils play an important role in the defense against bacterial infections. We have shown that a diet with high levels of dietary saturated fatty acids decreases survival in septic mice, but the mechanisms behind remain elusive. The aim of the present study was to investigate how the differences in dietary fat composition affect survival and bacterial load after experimental septic infection and neutrophil function in uninfected mice. We found that, after S. aureus infection, mice fed polyunsaturated high fat diet (HFD/P) for 8 weeks had increased survival and decreased bacterial load during sepsis compared with mice fed saturated high fat diet (HFD/S), and similar to that of mice fed low fat diet (LFD). Uninfected mice fed HFD/P had increased frequency of neutrophils in bone marrow compared with mice fed HFD/S. In addition, mice fed HFD/P had a higher frequency of neutrophils recruited to the site of inflammation in response to peritoneal injection of thioglycollate compared with HFD/S. Differences between the proportion of dietary protein and carbohydrate did not affect septic survival at all. In conclusion, polyunsaturated dietary fat increased both survival and efficiency of bacterial clearance during septic S. aureus infection. Moreover, this diet increased the frequency and chemotaxis of neutrophils, key components of the immune response to S. aureus infections.

S. aureus

saturated high fat diet


polyunsaturated high fat diet

dietary fat

septic infection


Sara L Svahn

University of Gothenburg

Louise Grahnemo

University of Gothenburg

Vilborg Palsdottir

University of Gothenburg

Intawat Nookaew

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Karl Wendt

University of Gothenburg

Britt Gabrielsson

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Erik Schéle

University of Gothenburg

Anna Benrick

University of Gothenburg

Niklas Andersson

University of Gothenburg

Staffan Nilsson

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics

M. E. Johanssonl

University of Gothenburg

John-Olov Jansson

University of Gothenburg

Infection and Immunity

0019-9567 (ISSN) 1098-5522 (eISSN)

Vol. 83 2 514-21

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories


Immunology in the medical area

Microbiology in the medical area

Nutrition and Dietetics


Basic sciences

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)





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