The phenolic fraction of extra virgin olive oil modulates the activation and the inflammatory response of T cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and healthy donors

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic multiorgan autoimmune disease characterized by immune deregulation, which involves altered T-cell response and imbalance of cytokine production. The phenolic fraction (PE) of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) possesses anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties and exerts preventive effects in murine models of immune-inflammatory diseases, such as SLE. The present study was designed to determine the in vitro effects of the PE from EVOO on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from inactive patients with SLE and healthy donors.

Methods and results:

T-cell phenotype was investigated by flow cytometry, cytokine levels were determined by ELISA, and protein expression was detected by Western blot. The PE of EVOO decreased the frequency of CD69+cells and the secretion of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-10. Moreover, PE increased the expression of I-kappa-B-α and decreased extracellular signal regulated kinase phosphorylation on PBMC from patients with SLE and healthy donors.


PE modulates cytokine production and attenuates induced T-cell activation, probably through NF-κB signaling pathway, providing the first evidence that PE from EVOO has an anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory role in SLE patients and it might therefore be considered as a dietary complement in SLE management

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