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Dietary effects on the immune system

Principal Investigator: Maria E. Johansson

Sepsis is a deadly disease. Sepsis, especially that caused by the gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), is increasing worldwide. Concurrently, antibiotic resistance is increasing world-wide, thus, there is an urgent need to find new alternative treatments for these patients.

The overall objective of this project is to investigate the dietary effects of fatty acids on the immune system during S. Aureus infection. We have recently shown that mice fed a diet with polyunsaturated fatty acids had an increased survival compared to mice fed a diet with saturated fatty acids, after S. Aureus infection (Svahn S et al Inf and Immun 2015). Polyunsaturated fatty acids largely consists of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In a follow-up study we could demonstrate that it was the omega-3 fatty acids that mediated the beneficial effect on survival (Svahn SL Inf Immunity 2016). Clearly, the composition of the fatty acids is crucial for immune function.

Our goal is to identify the mechanisms behind the difference between the detrimental effect of saturated fatty acids and the beneficial effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids on septic mortality. If we can understand the beneficial effects of fish oil on septic mortality this can open up for new treatment strategies for sepsis patients.

Principal Investigator

Maria E. Johansson

PhD, Associate Professor

Phone: +46 (0)31-786 3556
Visiting and postal addresses

Publications GUP

Group members

  • Marcus Ulleryd, Postdoc
  • Saray Gutierrez, Postdoc
  • Maria Hammarlund, MSc, Doctoral student
  • Filip Mjörnstedt, MD, Doctoral student
  • Kajsa Engvall,Medical student, amanuensis
  • Lisa Cognard, Bachelor student
  • Harman Sabir, Masters student



  • Sara Svahn, PhD
Page Manager: Annie Sundling|Last update: 2/25/2016

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