The role of eicosanoids in the brain

Tassoni, Daniella; Kaur, Gunveen; Weisinger, Richard S.; Sinclair, Andrew J.
March 2008
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition;2008 Supplement 1, Vol. 17, p220
Academic Journal
The brain contains two main polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These PUFA are located almost exclusively in the sn2-position of phosphoglycerides which are found in the neural cell membranes. Liberation of these PUFA from the phosphoglycerides occurs via the action of specific phospholipases (PLA2). Free AA can be metabolised by cyclooxygenases to prostaglandins and thromboxane, while both AA and DHA can be metabolised by lipoxygenases to form hydroxy derivatives and leukotrienes. AA is also metabolised to lipoxins via the 5-lipoxygenase pathway. The eicosanoids formed play important roles in neural function including sleep induction (PGD2), long term potentiation, spatial learning and synaptic plasticity (PGE2), resolution of inflammation (lipoxins) and anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective bioactivity (dihydroxy-docosatriene, neuroprotectin D1, formed from DHA). COX-inhibitors have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and cognitive impairment. Additionally, drugs which are used to treat depression have been shown to reduce the turnover of AA to PGE2 in the brain. Diets deficient in omega 3 PUFA lead to reduced DHA in the brain and increased turnover of AA to eicosanoids, an effect which is overcome by restoring the omega 3 PUFA to the diet. In neural trauma and neurodegenerative diseases, there is a dramatic rise in the levels of AA-derived eicosanoids. In contrast, DHA-derived compounds can prevent neuroinflammation. Clearly, the eicosanoids are very important for the normal functioning of the brain, while the PUFA themselves are important in membrane structure and function.


Related Articles

  • Dietary n-3 PUFA deprivation alters expression of enzymes of the arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acid cascades in rat frontal cortex. Rao, J. S.; Ertley, R. N.; DeMar, J. C.; Rapoport, S. I.; Bazinet, R. P.; Lee, H.-J. // Molecular Psychiatry;Feb2007, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p151 

    The enzymes that regulate the brain arachidonic acid (AA) cascade have been implicated in bipolar disorder and neuroinflammation. Fifteen weeks of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation in rats decreases the concentration of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and increases its...

  • Improved Mitochondrial Function with Diet-Induced Increase in Either Docosahexaenoic Acid or Arachidonic Acid in Membrane Phospholipids. Khairallah, Ramzi J.; Junhwan Kim; O'Shea, Karen M.; O'Connell, Kelly A.; Brown, Bethany H.; Galvao, Tatiana; Daneault, Caroline; Rosiers, Christine Des; Polster, Brian M.; Hoppel, Charles L.; Stanley, William C. // PLoS ONE;Mar2012, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p1 

    Mitochondria can depolarize and trigger cell death through the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). We recently showed that an increase in the long chain n3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n3) and depletion of the n6 PUFA arachidonic...

  • Study Shows PUFAs Raise Intelligence in Infants. Papanikolaw, Jim // Chemical Market Reporter;03/13/2000, Vol. 257 Issue 11, p8 

    Focuses on a study regarding the benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on the mental development of infants. Information on PUFA; Details on docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA).

  • DL- and PO-phosphatidylcholines as a promising learning and memory enhancer. Nagata, Tetsu; Yaguchi, Takahiro; Nishizaki, Tomoyuki // Lipids in Health & Disease;2011, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p25 

    In the water maze test, oral administration with 1,2-dilynoleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DLPhtCho)(5 mg/kg) alone or DLPhtCho (5 mg/kg) plus 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPhtCho)(5 mg/kg) significantly shortened the prolonged acquisition latency for rats...

  • Small supplements of N-3 fatty acids change serum low density lipoprotein composition by decreasing phospholipid and apolipoprotein B concentrations in young adult women. Sanchez-Muniz, F.J.; Bastida, S.; Viejo, J.M.; Terpstra, A.H.M. // European Journal of Nutrition;1999, Vol. 38 Issue 1, p20 

    Summary In order to investigate the effect of a short-term application of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the composition of serum very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), low density lipoproteins (LDL), and high density lipoproteins (HDL), nine women aged 29±4.2 years, following a...

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids and their metabolites in brain function and disease. Bazinet, Richard P.; Layé, Sophie // Nature Reviews Neuroscience;Dec2014, Vol. 15 Issue 12, p771 

    The brain is highly enriched with fatty acids. These include the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which are largely esterified to the phospholipid cell membrane. Once PUFAs are released from the membrane, they can participate in signal transduction,...

  • Fat Intake and CNS Functioning: Ageing and Disease. Crawford, Michael A.; Bazinet, Richard P.; Sinclair, Andrew J. // Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism;Sep2009, Vol. 55 Issue 1-3, p202 

    The article discusses the role of fat intake in central nervous system (CNS) functioning, aging and disease based on research. Arachidonic acid (AA) in the brain was correlated with eicosanoids, endocannabinoids, protein kinase C and various signalling pathways during injury and inflammation....

  • Antagonizing Arachidonic Acid-Derived Eicosanoids Reduces Inflammatory Th17 and Th1 Cell-Mediated Inflammation and Colitis Severity. Monk, Jennifer M.; Turk, Harmony F.; Yang-Yi Fa; Callaway, Evelyn; Weeks, Brad; Peiying Yang; McMurray, David N.; Chapkin, Robert S. // Mediators of Inflammation;2014, Vol. 2014, p1 

    During colitis, activation of two inflammatory T cell subsets, Th17 and Th1 cells, promotes ongoing intestinal inflammatory responses. n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid- (PUFA-) derived eicosanoids, such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), promote Th17 cell-mediated inflammation, while n-3 PUFA antagonize...

  • Eicosanoids. Vohr, Hans-Werner // Encyclopedic Reference of Immunotoxicology;2005, p221 

    A definition of the term "eicosanoids" is presented. It refers to a family of hormone-like compounds formed by hydroxylation of 20-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly arachidonic acid. It acts rapidly and locally regulating inflammation, lymphocyte function, chemotaxis, blood...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics