Analysis of the role of palmitoleic acid in acute anterior uveitis

Xinyue Huang, Shenglan Yi, Jianping Hu, Ziyu Du, Qingfeng Wang, Zi Ye, Qingfeng Cao, Guannan Su, Gangxiang Yuan, Chunjiang Zhou, Yao Wang, Aize Kijlstra, Peizeng Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To study the role of palmitoleic acid (PA) in the pathogenesis of acute anterior uveitis (AAU).

Methods: PA levels in feces from AAU patients were measured by gas chromatography coupled with a mass spectrometer (GC-MS) and compared with samples obtained from healthy individuals. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and flow cytometry (FCM) were used to assess the effect of PA on dendritic cells (DCs) and CD4(+)T cells obtained from mice, AAU patients and healthy individuals. C57BL/6 mice were fed with PA or vehicle and experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) was induced with a human retinal IRBP651-670 peptide. Disease severity of EAU was evaluated by clinical manifestation and histology. Differentiation of splenic Type 1 helper T cells (Th1) and Th17 cells was evaluated by FCM. Tandem mass tag (TMT)-based proteomics analysis was used to identify differentially expressed proteins following incubation of DCs with PA.

Results: The fecal concentration of PA was increased in AAU patients as compared with healthy individuals. In vitro, PA promoted apoptosis of DCs and inhibited the secretion of TNF-alpha from mouse bone-marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) as well as in DCs from AAU patients and healthy individuals. It only decreased DCs surface marker expression and IL-12p70 secretion in BMDCs and healthy individuals DCs but not in AAU patient DCs. PA-treated BMDCs inhibited Th cell differentiation from mouse naive CD4(+)T cells and IL-17 and IFN-gamma secretion in co-culture supernatants. PA also inhibited the differentiation of Th cells and secretion of IFN-gamma and IL-17 in CD4(+)T cells from mice, AAU patients and healthy individuals. In vivo, PA-treated EAU mice showed milder clinical and histopathological intraocular manifestations as compared with the control group. PA feeding inhibited differentiation of splenic Th17 cells, whereas Thl cells were not affected. Up to 30 upregulated and 77 downregulated proteins were identified when comparing PA-treated DCs with controls.

Conclusion: An increased expression of fecal PA was observed in AAU patients. PA was shown to have immunoregulatory effects on DCs and CD4(+)T cells and attenuated disease severity in EAU mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106552
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Palmitoleic acid
  • Acute anterior uveitis
  • Dendritic cells
  • CD4+T cells
  • Experimental autoimmune uveitis

Cite this