Herring roe oil supplementation alters microglial cell gene expression and reduces peripheral inflammation after immune activation in a neonatal piglet model

Megan P. Caputo, Emily C. Radlowski, Marcus A. Lawson, Adrienne M. Antonson, Josephine E. Watson, Stephanie M. Matt, Brian J. Leyshon, Aditi Das, Rodney W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Neonatal brain development can be disrupted by infection that results in microglial cell activation and neuroinflammation. Studies indicate that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and their metabolites can resolve inflammation. It is not known if dietary PUFA increases lipid metabolites in brain or reduces neuroinflammation in neonates. We hypothesized that dietary PUFAs might suppress neuroinflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokine over-production and promoting inflammatory resolution in the periphery and brain. Piglets were obtained on postnatal day (PD) 2 and randomly assigned to herring roe oil (HRO) or control (CON) diet. HRO was included at 2 g/kg powdered diet. HRO increased DHA levels in occipital lobe and the DHA to arachidonic acid (ARA) ratio in hippocampal tissue. HRO decreased ARA metabolites in occipital lobe. HRO failed to attenuate microglial pro-inflammatory cytokine production ex vivo. HRO did not affect fever or circulating resolvin D1 levels. HRO decreased circulating neutrophils and liver inflammatory gene expression, but increased resolution marker gene expression in liver post LPS. HRO upregulated CXCL16, TGFBR1, and C1QA in microglial cells. HRO supplementation exerted beneficial effects on inflammation in the periphery, but further studies are needed to evaluate the specific effects of omega-3 supplementation on microglial cell physiology in the neonate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-469
Number of pages15
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Oct 2019



  • Brain
  • Cytokine
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Gene expression
  • Herring roe oil
  • Inflammation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Microglia
  • Piglet
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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