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BACKGROUND: The Western diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil contains a healthier omega 3 to omega 6 ratio than corn oil. Jurkat T leukemia cells were treated with free fatty acids mixtures in ratios mimicking that found in commercially available canola oil (7% α-linolenic, 30% linoleic, 54% oleic) or corn oil (59% linoleic, 24% oleic) to determine the cell survival or cell death and changes in expression levels of inflammatory cytokines and receptors following oil treatment.

METHODS: Fatty acid uptake was assessed by gas chromatography. Cell survival and cell death were evaluated by cell cycle analyses, propidium-iodide staining, trypan blue exclusion and phosphatidylserine externalization. mRNA levels of inflammatory cytokines and receptors were assessed by RT-PCR.

RESULTS: There was a significant difference in the lipid profiles of the cells after treatment. Differential action of the oils on inflammatory molecules, following treatment at non-cytotoxic levels, indicated that canola oil mimetic was anti-inflammatory whereas corn oil mimetic was pro-inflammatory.

SIGNIFICANCE: These results indicate that use of canola oil in the diet instead of corn oil might be beneficial for diseases promoted by inflammation.


Gabriela Ion, Kayla Fazio, Juliana A Akinsete and W Elaine Hardman. Effects of canola and corn oil mimetic on Jurkat cells. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2011 Jun 1;10:90. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-90

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© 2011 Ion et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.