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The source of fatty acids incorporated into proliferating lymphoid cells in immune-stimulated lymph nodes

  • Caroline M. Pond (a1) and Christine A. Mattacks (a1)


To explore the hypothesis that proliferating lymphoid cells in immune-stimulated lymph nodes obtain nutrients locally from adjacent adipose tissue, adult guinea pigs were fed for 6 weeks on standard chow or on chow supplemented with 100 g suet, sunflower oil or fish oi/g. All the guinea pigs ate standard chow for the last 5 d, during which swelling of one popliteal lymph node was stimulated by repeated local injection of lipopolysaccharide. The fatty acid compositions of phospholipids in both popliteal and in several mesenteric lymph nodes, and of triacylglycerols in eleven samples of adipose tissue defined by their anatomical relations to lymph nodes, were determined by GC. The proportions of fatty acids in the phospholipids extracted from the stimulated popliteal node correlated best with those of triacylglycerols in the surrounding adipocytes, less strongly with those of adipocytes elsewhere in depots associated with lymphoid tissue, but not with those of nodeless depots. The composition of triacylglycerols in the perinodal adipose tissue changed under local immune stimulation. We conclude that proliferating lymphoid cells in activated lymph nodes obtain fatty acids mainly from the triacylglycerols in adjacent perinodal adipose tissue. Immune stimulation prompts changes in the fatty acid composition of the triacylglycerols of adipocytes in node-containing depots that equip the adipose tissue for provisioning immune responses. Such local interactions show that specialised adipocytes can act as an interface between whole-body and cellular nutrition, and may explain why mammalian adipose tissue is partitioned into a few large and many small depots.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Professor Caroline M. Pond, fax +44 1908 654167, email


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