Short term exposure to cis unsaturated free fatty acids inhibits degranulation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes

G. V. Richieri, M. F. Mescher, A. M. Kleinfeld

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Degranulation of CTL stimulated by alloantigen-bearing target cells is shown to be inhibited by short term exposure to low concentrations of long chain cis unsaturated free fatty acids (FFA), whereas saturated FFA have no effect. The Ag-specific (TCR mediated) stimulation of cloned murine CTL was monitored by changes in intracellular calcium concentrations ([Ca2+](i)) using the fluorescence indicator acetoxymethylester of fura-2 and by degranulation as measured by the release of BLT-esterase. Treatment of the CTL cells with any of the physiologically important FFA; oleic (18:1), linoleic (18:2), linolenic (18:3), or arachidonic (20:4) acid, at concentrations between 1 and 10 μM inhibits the target cell-mediated rise in [Ca2+](i) which occurs within seconds of stimulation and the release of BLT-esterase, which occurs over a period of 1 to 3 h. These inhibitory effects are observed within seconds to minutes of FFA addition. Inhibition can be reversed by treating cells with fatty acid free BSA and, in agreement with our previous studies, indicates that the effects of FFA are due to physical perturbations of cellular components. To determine the locus of this perturbation, the effect of FFA on the lipid order of CTL plasma membrane was determined using fluorescence polarization of the membrane impermeable probe trimethylammoniumdiphenylhexatriene. Cis unsaturated FFA were found to disorder the lipid acyl chains and the degree of disorder was found to increase with the degree of cis unsaturation. These results, together with the previous studies, suggest that inhibition results from a physical perturbation of plasma membrane lipid order. Moreover, because degranulation requires elevated levels of [Ca2+](i), it is likely that inhibition of degranulation results from a FFA-induced decrease in Ca2+ permeability through the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-677
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

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