Sesamin, present in sesame seed oil (SSO), can inhibit Δ-5-desaturase activity and cause accumulation of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), which displaces arachidonic acid, and subsequently decrease production of dienoic eicosanoids. The effects of diets containing both SSO and Quil A, a saponin that emulsifies fats and potentiates the immune responses, were also studied. A mixture of oils having a fatty-acid composition similar to that of SSO served as a control diet. The levels of docosapentaenoic acid in mice fed Quil-A-supplemented diets and of DGLA in those fed SSO diets were markedly higher in the liver. These changes were associated with a significant reduction in the plasma prostaglandin-E1+2 and thromboxane-B2 levels in response to an intraperitoneal injection of a lethal dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxin (LD50 20 mg/kg). The levels of interleukin (IL-)6 were elevated and those of IL-1β were decreased in mice consuming Quil-A-supplemented diets. The 1L-10 levels that were elevated in all mice after LPS exposure, remained higher (even at 9 h) only in those fed Quil-A-supplemented diets, but declined rapidly in others. During a 48-hour observation period following LPS injection, all control animals died, and survival was 40% in the SSO group, and 27 and 50%, respectively, in those fed Quil-A-supplemented control and SSO diets. These data suggest that SSO and Quil A when present in the diet exerted cumulative effects that resulted in a decrease in the levels of dienoic eicosanoids with a reduction in IL-1β and a concomitant elevation in the levels of IL-10 that were associated with a marked increase in survival in mice.

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