• adhesion molecules;
  • fatty acids;
  • leukocytes;
  • macrophages;
  • migration;
  • TNF-α


Background and Aim:  Dietary fat is known to modulate immune functions. Intake of an animal fat-rich diet has been linked to increased risk of inflammation; however, little is known about how animal fat ingestion directly affects intestinal immune function. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of butter feeding on lymphocyte migration in intestinal mucosa and the changes in adhesion molecules and cytokines involved in this effect.

Methods:  T-lymphocytes isolated from the spleen were fluorescence-labeled and injected into recipient mice. Butter was administered into the duodenum, and villus microvessels of the small intestinal mucosa were observed under an intravital microscope. mRNA expression of adhesion molecules and cytokines in the intestinal mucosa were determined by quantitative PCR. The effect of butter feeding on tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α mRNA expression of intestinal macrophages was also determined.

Results:  Intraluminal butter administration significantly increased lymphocyte adherence to intestinal microvessels accompanied by increases in expression levels of adhesion molecules ICAM-1, MAdCAM-1 and VCAM-1. This accumulation was significantly attenuated by anti-MAdCAM-1 and anti-ICAM-1 antibodies. Butter administration significantly increased TNF-α in the lamina proprial macrophages but not interleukin-6. Anti-TNF-α treatment attenuated the enhanced expression of adhesion molecules induced by butter administration.

Conclusion:  T-lymphocyte adherence to microvessels of the small intestinal mucosa was significantly enhanced after butter ingestion. This enhancement is due to increase in expression levels of adhesion molecules of the intestinal mucosa, which is mediated by TNF-α from macrophages in the intestinal lamina propria.