Omega-3 fatty acids in contrast to omega-6 protect against pneumococcal pneumonia

Cecilia A. Hinojosa, Norberto Gonzalez-Juarbe, Md M. Rahman, Gabriel Fernandes, Carlos J. Orihuela, Marcos I. Restrepo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess if long-term supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids or a diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids ameliorates disease severity in a murine model of pneumococcal pneumonia. We hypothesize that long-term dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids will reduce inflammation, disease severity and improve survival compared to omega-6 fatty acids. Methods: Mice receiving diets supplemented with Omega-3 or Omega-6 for two months were intranasally infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae. We analyzed survival, bacterial burden, histopathology and inflammatory biomarkers. Results: Our results showed that Omega-3 supplementation had increased survival (p = 0.005), less bacteremia (p = 0.0001) and lower bacterial burden in the lungs (p = 0.0002) when compared to the Omega-6 supplementation. Overall, Omega-3 reduced lung pathology, in particular peribronchial inflammation and cell death. Analyses of lung homogenates showed the Omega-3 cohort had decreased levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 and an increase in anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10. Conclusions: Supplementation of mouse diets with Omega-3 fatty acids improved survival, bacterial invasion in the blood and lungs as well as decreased overall lung tissue inflammation and cell death when compared to the Omega-6 supplemented diets. Translation of these findings in humans may improve outcomes of patients at risk for pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103979
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Fatty acids
  • Inflammation
  • Omega-3
  • Omega-6
  • Pneumonia
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


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