OBJECTIVE: To determine effect of diets with variable n-6-to-n-3 fatty acid (FA) ratio on CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocyte subpopulations, and on results of routine laboratory analyses (CBC and total WBC count, serum biochemical analyses, and urinalysis).
ANIMALS: 20 healthy, aged (9.5 to 11.5 years old) female Beagles.
PROCEDURE: Dogs were fed 1 of 3 diets that contained 6% fat by weight but differed in amounts of n-6 and n-3 FA. For 11 weeks, 6 dogs were fed a low concentration of n-3 FA (ratio, 31:1), 7 were fed a medium concentration (5.4:1), and 7 were fed a high concentration (1.4:1). Preprandial blood and urine samples were collected before beginning the study and at 8 weeks for evaluation of laboratory variables. Before and at 3, 6, and 8 weeks during the study, blood was drawn for total WBC and lymphocyte counts and for characterization of T-cell subpopulations. At 8 and 10 weeks, dogs were vaccinated with keyhole limpet hemocyanin suspension. Blood was drawn 4 days after each vaccination, and lymphocytes were isolated for flow cytometry. Effects of diet and vaccination on each variable were determined.
RESULTS: After vaccination, total lymphocyte count increased and CD4+ T lymphocyte count and the CD4(+)-to-CD8+ ratio decreased in dogs consuming the diet with n-6-to-n-3 FA ratio of 1.4:1.
CONCLUSION: Feeding a diet with n-6-to-n-3 FA ratio of 1.4:1 had significant effects on CD4+ T lymphocytes in healthy, aged Beagles after vaccination.