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Effect of dietary polyunsaturated fat and 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)-anthracene on rat splenic natural killer cells and prostaglandin E synthesis


Dietary polyunsaturated fat has been shown to stimulate mammary tumorigenesis induced in rats by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA). Studies were undertaken to investigate the effect of polyunsaturated fat and DMBA on splenic natural killer (NK) activity and prostaglandin E (PGE) synthesis. In a first experiment, splenic NK activity at 33, 55, 75, and 110 days of age was measured in Sprague-Dawley rats fed 0.5% low fat (LF), 5% normal fat (NF), or 20% high fat (HF) corn oil diets from 23 days of age. At 55 days of age, half of the rats from the 75 and 110 day age groups were given 5 mg DMBA. Ten days after the initiation of the diets splenic NK activity against YAC-1 lymphoma was decreased from 50% cytotoxicity in rats fed NF diet to 21% cytotoxicity in rats fed HF diet, but was not affected by LF feeding. No difference in NK activity was observed among the groups at the later time periods. DMBA had no effect on NK activity at 20 or 55 days after its administration. In a second experiment, where DMBA (15 mg/rat) was given to half of the rats at 50 days of age and NF or HF diets were started 3 days later, NK activity was 35% in rats fed NF diet and 21% in rats fed HF diet, 5 days after the diets were started. No difference in NK activity in rats fed either diet was observed at later time periods. DMBA decreased both NK activity and spleen cellularity transiently. In both experiments, PGE synthesis by spleen cells cultured for 18 h was not affected by dietary fat intake, but was slightly increased 3 days after DMBA administration. Results from these experiments suggest that the stimulation of DMBA-induced mammary tumorigenesis by polyunsaturated fat and by DMBA itself may possibly be mediated by a transient decrease in splenic NK cell activity.

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Correspondence to Kam H. Leung.

Additional information

This work was supported by grants CA-35641, CA-33240, CA-13038 and Core Grant CA-24538 from the National Cancer Institute

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Leung, K.H., Ip, M.M. Effect of dietary polyunsaturated fat and 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)-anthracene on rat splenic natural killer cells and prostaglandin E synthesis. Cancer Immunol Immunother 21, 161–163 (1986).

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  • Anthracene
  • DMBA
  • Natural Killer Cell Activity
  • Natural Killer Activity
  • Mammary Tumorigenesis