Intestinal mucosal immunity is modulated by cytokine release from intestinal cells, but little is known about the relation between nutrient absorption and cytokine release. In this study, we examined how exposure to fatty acids affects the production of growth-regulated oncogene/cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1 (GRO/CINC-1) and interleukin (IL)-6 in rat intestinal epithelial cells (IEC). The long-chain fatty acids, oleic, linoleic and arachidonic acids, and the middle-chain fatty acid octanoic acid were administered to subconfluent cultures of IEC-6 cells alone, or in combination with IL-1β and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. The GRO/CINC-1 and IL-6 concentrations in culture media were determined by sandwich enzyme immunoassay. In epithelial cells, GRO/CINC-1 and IL-6 mRNA expression were examined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activities determined by immunoblotting. Administration of long-chain fatty acids significantly increased the GRO/CINC-1 and IL-6 secretion into culture media, and this secretion was markedly increased (P < 0.05) in the presence of IL-1β or TGF-β. Octanoic acid had no effect on GRO/CINC-1 or IL-6 production. Furthermore, treatment with long-chain fatty acids significantly enhanced the GRO/CINC-1 and IL-6 expression that was induced by IL-1β or TGF-β. MAPK activity was significantly enhanced by treatment with long-chain fatty acids. Inhibitors of phospholipase C, protein kinase C or MAPK significantly reduced the fatty acid-induced increase in GRO/CINC-1 secretion, whereas a calcium/calmodulin inhibitor did not attenuate the secretion. These results suggest that long-chain fatty acids enhance cytokine release under conditions of inflammatory stimulation in the intestinal mucosa.
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