Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Laura Jenski

Second Advisor

Nicola LoCascio

Third Advisor

Susan Jackman


Fatty acids influence immune responses, but how this occurs at the molecular level is not understood. Class I major histocompatibility complex molecules (MHC I), transmembrane proteins required for antigen presentation to T cell receptors, each consist of a 45kDa α chain noncovalently associated with a 12-kDa β2-microglobulin (β2m) molecule. Docosahexaenoic acid’s (DHA) effect on the binding of β2m and anti-MHC I monoclonal antibodies (Mab) was measured. EL4 and RMA-S cells were cultured 48 hours with 0-45µM DHA or oleic acid. Murine to human β2m exchange and Mab binding were assessed by fluorescence flow cytometry. DHA-treated cells showed increased fluorescence (greater β2m binding and Mab binding) compared to untreated and oleic acid-treated cells. The addition of α-tocopherol to these fatty acid treatments eliminated the DHA-associated increase in fluorescence. DHA’s effect on the cell membrane may alter the conformation of MHC I affecting antigen presentation to CD8+ T-lymphocytes and altering immune response.


Docosahexaenoic acid.

Immune response - Effect of acid on.