Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is required for normal brain function. The concentration of DHA in the brain depends on both diet and liver metabolism.
To determine rat brain DHA concentration and consumption in relation to dietary n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content and liver secretion of DHA derived from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA).
Following weaning, male rats were fed for 15 weeks either: (1) a diet with a high DHA and α-LNA content, (2) an n-3 PUFA “adequate” diet containing 4.6% α-LNA but no DHA, or (3) an n-3 PUFA “deficient” diet containing 0.2% α-LNA and no DHA. Brain DHA consumption rates were measured following intravenous infusion in unanesthetized rats of [1-14C]DHA, whereas liver and brain DHA synthesis rates were measured by infusing [1-14C]α-LNA.
Brain DHA concentrations equaled 17.6 μm/g, 11.4 μm/g and 7.14 μm/g in rats on diets 1, 2 and 3, respectively. With each diet, the rate of brain DHA synthesis from α-LNA was much less than the brain DHA consumption rate, whereas the liver synthesis-secretion rate was 5-10 fold higher. Higher elongase 2 and 5 and desaturase Δ5 and Δ6 activities in liver than in brain accounted for the higher liver DHA synthesis rates; these enzymes were transcriptionally upregulated in liver but not in brain of rats fed the deficient diet.
While DHA is essential to normal brain function, this need might be covered by dietary α-LNA when liver metabolic conversion machinery is intact and the diet has a high α-LNA content.
docosahexaenoic acid; liver; brain; rat; n-3; omega-3; PUFA; imaging; metabolism; diet; synthesis; α-linolenic acid
Bioactivities of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) depend on their chemical forms. The present study was to investigate short term effects of triglyceride (TG), ethyl ester (EE), free fatty acid (FFA) and phospholipid (PL) forms of omega-3 fatty acid (FA) on lipid metabolism in mice, fed high fat or low fat diet.
Male Balb/c mice were fed with 0.7% different Omega-3 fatty acid formulation: DHA bound free fatty acid (DHA-FFA), DHA bound triglyceride (DHA-TG), DHA bound ethyl ester (DHA-EE) and DHA bound phospholipid (DHA-PL) for 1 week, with dietary fat levels at 5% and 22.5%. Serum and hepatic lipid concentrations were analyzed, as well as the fatty acid composition of liver and brain.
At low fat level, serum total cholesterol (TC) level in mice fed diets with DHA-FFA, DHA-EE and DHA-PL were significantly lower than that in the control group (P < 0.05). Hepatic TG level decreased significantly in mice fed diets with DHA-TG (P < 0.05), DHA-EE (P < 0.05) and DHA-PL (P < 0.05), while TC level in liver was significantly lower in mice fed diets with TG and EE compared with the control group (P < 0.05). At high fat level, mice fed diets with DHA-EE and DHA-PL had significantly lower hepatic TC level compared with the control diet (P < 0.05). Hepatic PL concentration experienced a significant increase in mice fed the diet with PL at high fat level (P < 0.05). Furthermore, both at low and high fat levels, hepatic DHA level significantly increased and AA level significantly decreased in all forms of DHA groups (P < 0.05), compared to control groups at two different fat levels, respectively. Additionally, cerebral DHA level in mice fed diets with DHA-FFA, DHA-EE and DHA-PL significantly increased compared with the control at high fat level (P < 0.05), but no significant differences were observed among dietary treatments for mice fed diets with low fat level.
The present study suggested that not only total dietary fat content but also the molecular forms of omega-3 fatty acids contributed to lipid metabolism in mice. DHA-PL showed effective bioactivity in decreasing hepatic and serum TC, TG levels and increasing omega-3 concentration in liver and brain.
Omega-3 fatty acid; DHA; EPA; Lipid metabolism; Triglycerides; Ethyl ester; Phospholipids
Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), in particular the long chain marine fatty acids docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA), are linked to many health benefits in humans and in animal models. Little is known of the molecular response to DHA and EPA of the small intestine, and the potential contribution of this organ to the beneficial effects of these fatty acids. Here, we assessed gene expression changes induced by DHA and EPA in the wildtype C57BL/6J murine small intestine using whole genome microarrays and functionally characterized the most prominent biological process.
The main biological process affected based on gene expression analysis was lipid metabolism. Fatty acid uptake, peroxisomal and mitochondrial beta-oxidation, and omega-oxidation of fatty acids were all increased. Quantitative real time PCR, and -in a second animal experiment- intestinal fatty acid oxidation measurements confirmed significant gene expression differences and showed in a dose-dependent manner significant changes at biological functional level. Furthermore, no major changes in the expression of lipid metabolism genes were observed in the colon.
We show that marine n-3 fatty acids regulate small intestinal gene expression and increase fatty acid oxidation. Since this organ contributes significantly to whole organism energy use, this effect on the small intestine may well contribute to the beneficial physiological effects of marine PUFAs under conditions that will normally lead to development of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.
Mediator lipidomics is a field of study concerned with the characterization, structural elucidation and bioactivity of lipid derivatives generated by enzymatic activity. Omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects for vision, brain function, cardiovascular function, and immune-inflammatory responses. Docosahexaenoic acid [DHA; 22:6(n-3)], the most abundant essential omega-3 fatty acid in the human body, is selectively enriched and avidly retained in the central nervous system as an acyl chain of phospholipids. Brain-ischemia reperfusion and seizures trigger rapid release of DHA and of arachidonic acid (AA) as free, unesterified fatty acids. AA in turn generates eicosanoids, and DHA forms docosanoids. The stereoselective docosanoid neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1; 10R,17S-dihydroxy-docosa-4Z,7Z,11E,15E,19Z hexaenoic acid) is formed early in brain-ischemia reperfusion. Supplementation of NPD1 (intracerebroventricularly; i.c.v.) or of DHA (i.c.v. or systemically) results in decreased infarct size, polymorphonuclear neutrophil infiltration, ischemia-induced nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) activation, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) induction. DHA involvement in cell function includes enhancing Akt translocation and activation, and binding to a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ) family of ligand-activated nuclear receptors. Here we present an overview of recent DHA-mediator lipidomic studies in experimental brain ischemia-reperfusion and other conditions.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a liver manifestation of metabolic syndrome since obesity and insulin resistance are the main pathogenic contributors for both conditions. NAFLD carries increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. There is an urgent need to find effective and safe therapy for children and adults with NAFLD. Data from research and clinical studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in metabolic syndrome-related conditions and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
We are conducting a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of treatment with omega-3 fatty acids in children with NAFLD. Patients are randomized to receive either omega-3 fatty acids containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or placebo for 24 weeks. The dose of omega-3 (DHA+ EPA) ranges from 450 to 1300 mg daily. Low calorie diet and increased physical activity are advised and monitored using validated questionnaires. The primary outcome of the trial is the number of patients who decreased ALT activity by ≥ 0,3 of upper limit of normal. The main secondary outcomes are improvement in the laboratory liver tests, liver steatosis on ultrasound, markers of insulin resistance and difference in fat/lean body mass composition after 6 months of intervention.
Potential efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of NAFLD will provide needed rationale for use of this safe diet supplement together with weight reduction therapy in the growing population of children with NAFLD.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Omega-3 fatty acids; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Randomized controlled trial; Children
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, has been used to treat a range of different conditions, including periodontal disease (PD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). That DHA helps with these oral and gastrointestinal diseases in which inflammation and bacterial dysbiosis play key roles, raises the question of whether DHA may assist in the prevention or treatment of other inflammatory conditions, such as the metabolic syndrome, which have also been linked with inflammation and alterations in normal host microbial populations. Here we review established and investigated associations between DHA, PD, and IBD. We conclude that by beneficially altering cytokine production and macrophage recruitment, the composition of intestinal microbiota and intestinal integrity, lipopolysaccharide- and adipose-induced inflammation, and insulin signaling, DHA may be a key tool in the prevention of metabolic syndrome.
inflammation; periodontal disease; inflammatory bowel disease; metabolic syndrome; bacterial dysbiosis; microbiome; DHA; docosahexaenoic acid; omega-3; fattyacid
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, is an essential component of membrane phosphatides and has been implicated in cognitive functions. Low levels of circulating or brain DHA are associated with various neurocognitive disorders including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), while laboratory animals, including animal models of AD, can exhibit improved cognitive ability with a diet enriched in DHA. Various cellular mechanisms have been proposed for DHA’s behavioral effects, including increases in cellular membrane fluidity, promotion of neurite extension, and inhibition of apoptosis. However, there is little direct evidence that DHA affects synaptic structure in living animals. Here we show that oral supplementation with DHA substantially increases the number of dendritic spines in adult gerbil hippocampus, particularly when animals are co-supplemented with a uridine source, uridine-5’-monophosphate (UMP), which increases brain levels of the rate-limiting phosphatide precursor CTP. The increase in dendritic spines (> 30%) is accompanied by parallel increases in membrane phosphatides, and in pre- and post-synaptic proteins within the hippocampus. Hence oral DHA may promote neuronal membrane synthesis to increase the number of synapses, particularly when co-administered with UMP. Our findings provide a possible explanation for the effects of DHA on behavior and also suggest a strategy to treat cognitive disorders resulting from synapse loss.
docosahexaenoic acid; uridine; membrane synthesis; spine formation; synaptogenesis; phosphatides
We examined the neuroprotective efficacy of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 essential fatty acid family member, in acute ischemic stroke; studied the therapeutic window; and investigated whether DHA administration after an ischemic stroke is able to salvage the penumbra. In each series described below, SD rats underwent 2 h of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). In series 1, DHA or saline was administered i.v. at 3, 4, 5, or 6 h after stroke. In series 2, MRI was conducted on days 1, 3 and 7. In series 3, DHA or saline was administered at 3 h, and lipidomic analysis was conducted on day 3. Treatment with DHA significantly improved behavior and reduced total infarct volume by a mean of 40% when administered at 3 h, by 66% at 4 h, and by 59% at 5 h. Total lesion volumes computed from T2-weighted images were reduced in the DHA group at all time points. Lipidomic analysis showed that DHA treatment potentiates neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) synthesis in the penumbra 3 days after MCAo. DHA administration provides neurobehavioral recovery, reduces brain infarction and edema, and activates NPD1 synthesis in the penumbra when administered up to 5 h after focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
Focal ischemia; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuroprotection; Animal models
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and DHA-containing ethanolamine plasmalogens (PlsEtn) are decreased in the brain, liver and the circulation in Alzheimer's disease. Decreased supply of plasmalogen precursors to the brain by the liver, as a result of peroxisomal deficits is a process that probably starts early in the AD disease process. To overcome this metabolic compromise, we have designed an orally bioavailable DHA-containing ether lipid precursor of plasmalogens. PPI-1011 is an alkyl-diacyl plasmalogen precursor with palmitic acid at sn-1, DHA at sn-2 and lipoic acid at sn-3. This study outlines the oral pharmacokinetics of this precursor and its conversion to PlsEtn and phosphatidylethanolamines (PtdEtn).
Rabbits were dosed orally with PPI-1011 in hard gelatin capsules for time-course and dose response studies. Incorporation into PlsEtn and PtdEtn was monitored by LC-MS/MS. Metabolism of released lipoic acid was monitored by GC-MS. To monitor the metabolic fate of different components of PPI-1011, we labeled the sn-1 palmitic acid, sn-2 DHA and glycerol backbone with13C and monitored their metabolic fates by LC-MS/MS.
PPI-1011 was not detected in plasma suggesting rapid release of sn-3 lipoic acid via gut lipases. This conclusion was supported by peak levels of lipoic acid metabolites in the plasma 3 hours after dosing. While PPI-1011 did not gain access to the plasma, it increased circulating levels of DHA-containing PlsEtn and PtdEtn. Labeling experiments demonstrated that the PtdEtn increases resulted from increased availability of DHA released via remodeling at sn-2 of phospholipids derived from PPI-1011. This release of DHA peaked at 6 hrs while increases in phospholipids peaked at 12 hr. Increases in circulating PlsEtn were more complex. Labeling experiments demonstrated that increases in the target PlsEtn, 16:0/22:6, consisted of 2 pools. In one pool, the intact precursor received a sn-3 phosphoethanolamine group and desaturation at sn-1 to generate the target plasmalogen. The second pool, like the PtdEtn, resulted from increased availability of DHA released during remodeling of sn-2. In the case of sn-1 18:0 and 18:1 plasmalogens with [13C3]DHA at sn-2, labeling was the result of increased availability of [13C3]DHA from lipid remodeling. Isotope and repeated dosing (2 weeks) experiments also demonstrated that plasmalogens and/or plasmalogen precursors derived from PPI-1011 are able to cross both the blood-retinal and blood-brain barriers.
Our data demonstrate that PPI-1011, an ether lipid precursor of plasmalogens is orally bioavailable in the rabbit, augmenting the circulating levels of unesterified DHA and DHA-containing PlsEtn and PtdEtn. Other ethanolamine plasmalogens were generated from the precursor via lipid remodeling (de-acylation/re-acylation reactions at sn-2) and phosphatidylethanolamines were generated via de-alkylation/re-acylation reactions at sn-1. Repeated oral dosing for 2 weeks with PPI-1011 resulted in dose-dependent increases in circulating DHA and DHA-containing plasmalogens. These products and/or precursors were also able to cross the blood-retinal and blood-brain barriers.
In multiple sclerosis (MS), compromised blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity contributes to inflammatory T cell migration into the central nervous system. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is associated with BBB disruption and subsequent T cell migration into the CNS. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on MMP-9 levels and T cell migration. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy controls were pretreated with two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Cell supernatants were used to determine MMP-9 protein and activity levels. Jurkat cells were pretreated with EPA and DHA and were added to fibronectin-coated transwells to measure T cell migration. EPA and DHA significantly decreased MMP-9 protein levels, MMP-9 activity, and significantly inhibited human T cell migration. The data suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may benefit patients with multiple sclerosis by modulating immune cell production of MMP-9.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) that is critically important for the structure, development and function of the retina and central nervous system (CNS), ultimately contributing to improved cognition. It is known that the DHA content of breast milk is positively correlated with maternal DHA intake. Since there is a lack of information about the DHA status of pregnant and lactating women in rural Taiwan. The aims of the present study were to: 1) assess the DHA status of mothers and babies in urban setting, and 2) determine the content of DHA in the milk of nursing mothers.
All pregnant women who attended the Obstetrics and Gynecology Outpatient Clinic of Kinmen Hospital on Kinmen Island in Taiwan between May 1 and May 30, 2011 were invited by research nurses to enroll in the study. The maternal blood sample was obtained on the day of their delivery. Cord blood was collected by the obstetrician following delivery. Participants were asked to visit the doctor forty-two days after the delivery, at which time a nurse collected breast milk on the day mothers were visiting the doctor for post-natal well-baby check-up.
The DHA percentages of maternal and neonatal plasma phospholipids were 5.16% and 6.36%, respectively, which are higher than values reported for most populations elsewhere in the world. The DHA percentage for the breast milk of Kinmen mothers was also high (0.98%) relation to international norms. The DHA proportions in maternal and neonatal plasma phospholipids were positively correlated (r = 0.46, p = 0.01).
We show that the DHA status of mothers and newborns on Kinmen Island is satisfactory, thereby providing an evidence-based argument for promoting breastfeeding in Taiwan.
Breast milk; Lactation; Neonates; Fish intake; Kinmen; Docosahexaenoic acid; Pregnancy; Fatty acids
We reported that reduced dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as arachidonic (AA,20:4n6, omega-6) and docosahexaenoic (DHA,22:6n3, omega-3) acids led to alcohol-induced fatty liver and fibrosis. This study was aimed at studying the mechanisms by which a DHA/AA-supplemented diet prevents alcohol-induced fatty liver.
Male Long-Evans rats were fed an ethanol or control liquid-diet with or without DHA/AA for 9 weeks. Plasma transaminase levels, liver histology, oxidative/nitrosative stress markers, and activities of oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins were evaluated.
Chronic alcohol administration increased the degree of fatty liver but fatty liver decreased significantly in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. Alcohol exposure increased oxidative/nitrosative stress with elevated levels of ethanol-inducible CYP2E1, nitric oxide synthase, nitrite and mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide. However, these increments were normalized in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. The number of oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins was markedly increased following alcohol exposure but significantly reduced in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. The suppressed activities of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, ATP synthase, and 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase in ethanol-exposed rats were also recovered in animals fed the ethanol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet.
Addition of DHA/AA prevents alcohol-induced fatty liver and mitochondrial dysfunction in an animal model by protecting various mitochondrial enzymes most likely through reducing oxidative/nitrosative stress.
Alcoholic fatty liver; polyunsaturated fatty acids; Long-Evans rat; Oxidative/nitrosative stress; Protein oxidation; β-oxidation of fatty acids; Mitochondrial dysfunction
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the end-product of the metabolism of omega-3 family fatty acids, is the main polyunsaturated fatty acid of the brain, but its accumulation is incompletely understood. This paper reviews how it could accumulate through specific uptake of DHA-containing lysophosphatidylcholine (LysoPC-DHA). DHA migrates very easily from the sn-2 position of LysoPC, which could be considered as the physiological form of polyunsaturated LysoPC, to the sn-1 position, which is much more stable. An approach preventing migration by acetylating the sn-1 position, while retaining the main physico-chemical properties of the carrier, is described. Also, the double lipoxygenation and bond-isomerization of DHA into 10(S),17(S)-docosahexa-4Z,7Z,11E,13Z,15E,19Z-enoic acid, named PDX, by soybean lipoxygenase is described. As in other E,Z,E conjugated trienes, PDX is shown to inhibit human blood platelet aggregation at submicromolar concentrations.
DHA; Lysophosphatidylcholine; PDX
The purpose of this review is to correlate the clinical finding that patients receiving parenteral nutrition with a fish oil-based lipid emulsion do not develop essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD) with an experimental murine model, thus showing that arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are likely to be the essential fatty acids.
Conventional belief is that linoleic acid (LA, omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, omega-3) are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). We have shown that a fish oil-based lipid emulsion containing AA (omega-6) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, omega-3) and insignificant quantities of LA and ALA is efficacious in the treatment of parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease (PNALD), a major cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality. The prospect of using a fish oil-based lipid emulsion as monotherapy has raised concerns of EFAD development, hindering its adoption into clinical practice.
Data from patients in our institution who received PN with a fish oil-based lipid emulsion was reviewed for clinical and biochemical evidence of EFAD, defined as an elevated triene-tetraene ratio (Mead acid/AA >0.2). We also investigated the minimum amount of fish oil required to prevent EFAD in a murine model and determined whether DHA and AA alone can prevent EFAD.
No patients receiving PN with a fish oil-based lipid emulsion in our institution have developed biochemical or clinical evidence of EFAD such as an elevated triene-tetraene ratio, growth retardation or dermatitis. This observation parallels our previously published animal studies, which demonstrated prevention of EFAD when thirteen percent of total calories were from fish oil. Moreover, current work in our laboratory shows that AA and DHA provision alone is sufficient to prevent biochemical and physiologic evidence of EFAD in a murine model.
When dosed appropriately, fish oil-based lipid emulsions contain sufficient EFAs to prevent EFAD. Furthermore, AA and DHA alone may be the true EFAs.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been proposed as an adjuvant treatment option in psychiatric disorders. Given their other health benefits and their relative lack of toxicity, teratogenicity and side effects, they may be particularly useful in children and in females of child-bearing age, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. A comprehensive mechanistic understanding of their effects is needed. Here we report translational studies demonstrating the phenotypic normalization and gene expression effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acids, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in a stress-reactive knockout mouse model of bipolar disorder and co-morbid alcoholism, using a bioinformatic convergent functional genomics approach integrating animal model and human data to prioritize disease-relevant genes. Additionally, to validate at a behavioral level the novel observed effects on decreasing alcohol consumption, we also tested the effects of DHA in an independent animal model, alcohol-preferring (P) rats, a well-established animal model of alcoholism. Our studies uncover sex differences, brain region-specific effects and blood biomarkers that may underpin the effects of DHA. Of note, DHA modulates some of the same genes targeted by current psychotropic medications, as well as increases myelin-related gene expression. Myelin-related gene expression decrease is a common, if nonspecific, denominator of neuropsychiatric disorders. In conclusion, our work supports the potential utility of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, for a spectrum of psychiatric disorders such as stress disorders, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and beyond.
alcoholism; bipolar; DHA; genomics; omega-3; stress
Omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) have the potential to regulate gene
expression via the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα);
therefore, genetic variations in this gene may
transcriptional activity on target genes. It is hypothesized that
the transcriptional activity by wild-type L162-PPARα is enhanced
to a greater extent than the mutated variant (V162-PPARα) in the
presence of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid
(DHA) or a mixture of EPA:DHA. To examine the functional
difference of the two allelic variants on receptor activity,
transient co-transfections were performed in human hepatoma HepG2
cells activated with EPA, DHA and EPA:DHA mixtures. Results
indicate that the addition of EPA or DHA demonstrate potential to
increase the transcriptional activity by PPARα with respect to
basal level in both variants. Yet, the EPA:DHA mixtures enhanced
the transcriptional activity to a greater extent than individual
FAs indicating possible additive effects of EPA and DHA.
Additionally, the V162 allelic form of PPARα demonstrated
consistently lower transcriptional activation when incubated with
EPA, DHA or EPA:DHA mixtures than, the wild-type variant. In
conclusion, both allelic variants of the PPARα L162V are activated
by omega-3 FAs; however, the V162 allelic form displays a lower
transcriptional activity than the wild-type variant.
While cardiovascular and mood benefits of dietary omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are manifest, direct neurophysiological evidence of their effects on cortical activity is still limited. Hence we chose to examine the effects of two proprietary fish oil products with different EPA∶DHA ratios (EPA-rich, high EPA∶DHA; DHA-rich) on mental processing speed and visual evoked brain activity. We proposed that nonlinear multifocal visual evoked potentials (mfVEP) would be sensitive to any alteration of the neural function induced by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, because the higher order kernel responses directly measure the degree of recovery of the neural system as a function of time following stimulation. Twenty-two healthy participants aged 18–34, with no known neurological or psychiatric disorder and not currently taking any nutritional supplementation, were recruited. A double-blind, crossover design was utilized, including a 30-day washout period, between two 30-day supplementation periods of the EPA-rich and DHA-rich diets (with order of diet randomized). Psychophysical choice reaction times and multi-focal nonlinear visual evoked potential (VEP) testing were performed at baseline (No Diet), and after each supplementation period. Following the EPA-rich supplementation, for stimulation at high luminance contrast, a significant reduction in the amplitude of the first slice of the second order VEP kernel response, previously related to activation in the magnocellular pathway, was observed. The correlations between the amplitude changes of short latency second and first order components were significantly different for the two supplementations. Significantly faster choice reaction times were observed psychophysically (compared with baseline performance) under the EPA-rich (but not DHA-rich) supplementation, while simple reaction times were not affected. The reduced nonlinearities observed under the EPA-rich diet suggest a mechanism involving more efficient neural recovery of magnocellular-like visual responses following cortical activation.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain growth and development. They play an important role throughout life, as critical modulators of neuronal function and regulation of oxidative stress mechanisms, in brain health and disease. Docosahexanoic acid (DHA), the major omega-3 fatty acid found in neurons, has taken on a central role as a target for therapeutic intervention in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A plethora of in vitro, animal model, and human data, gathered over the past decade, highlight the important role DHA may play in the development of a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including AD. Cross sectional and prospective cohort data have demonstrated that reduced dietary intake or low brain levels of DHA are associated with accelerated cognitive decline or the development of incipient dementia, including AD. Several clinical trials investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in AD have been completed and all failed to demonstrate its efficacy in the treatment of AD. However, these trials produced intriguing data suggesting that the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may depend on the stage of disease, other dietary mediators, and apolipoprotein E status.
Alzheimer’s disease; omega-3 fatty acids; oxidative stress; clinical studies; treatment
Omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) are natural ligands of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα), a nuclear receptor that modulates expression levels of genes involved in lipid metabolism. The L162V polymorphism of the PPARα gene is associated with a deteriorated metabolic profile. We postulate that subjects carrying the PPARα-V162 allele exhibit differences in the expression of PPARα and its target genes after incubation with omega-3 FAs compared with L162 homozygotes. Peripheral blood monocytes from six men carrying the PPARα-V162 allele paired for age and for body mass index with six L162 homozygotes were differentiated into macrophages and activated with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or mixtures of EPA:DHA. Data demonstrates that gene expression levels of PPARα and apolipoprotein AI (APOA1) were significantly lower for carriers of the PPARα-V162 allele compared to L162 homozygotes after the addition of DHA and a mixture of EPA:DHA. Additionally, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene expression displayed a tendency to be lower in the PPARα L162V polymorphism subgroup after the addition of a mixture of EPA:DHA. Consequently, individuals carrying the PPARα-V162 allele may demonstrate inferior improvements in their lipid profile due to alterations in gene expression rates in response to omega-3 FA supplementation.
Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; PPARα; Lipoprotein lipase; Apolipoprotein AI; Triglycerides
The pathology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by the decreased capacity of neurons to metabolize energy and sustain synaptic function, likely resulting in cognitive and emotional disorders. Based on the broad nature of the pathology, we have assessed the potential of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to counteract the effects of concussive injury on important aspects of neuronal function and cognition. Fluid percussion injury (FPI) or sham injury was performed, and rats were then maintained on a diet high in DHA (1.2% DHA) for 12 days. We found that DHA supplementation, which elevates brain DHA content, normalized levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), synapsin I (Syn-1), cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB), and calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), and improved learning ability in FPI rats. It is known that BDNF facilitates synaptic transmission and learning ability by modulating Syn-I, CREB, and CaMKII signaling. The DHA diet also counteracted the FPI-reduced manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Sir2 (a NAD+-dependent deacetylase). Given the involvement of SOD and Sir2 in promoting metabolic homeostasis, DHA may help the injured brain by providing resistance to oxidative stress. Furthermore, DHA normalized levels of calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2) and syntaxin-3, which may help preserve membrane homeostasis and function after FPI. The overall results emphasize the potential of dietary DHA to counteract broad and fundamental aspects of TBI pathology that may translate into preserved cognitive capacity.
brain-derived neurotrophic factor; plasticity; Sir2; superoxide dismutase; traumatic brain injury
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) form an important constituent of all the cell membranes in the body. PUFAs such as arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) form precursors to both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds. Low-grade systemic inflammation occurs in clinical conditions such as insulin resistance, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, lupus, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias, cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that are also characterized by an alteration in the metabolism of essential fatty acids in the form of excess production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids and possibly, decreased synthesis and release of anti-inflammatory lipoxins, resolvins, protectins and maresins. We propose that low-grade systemic inflammation observed in these clinical conditions is due to an imbalance in the metabolism of essential fatty acids that is more in favour of pro-inflammatory molecules. In this context, transgenic fat-1 mouse that is designed to convert n-6 to n-3 fatty acids could form an ideal model to study the altered metabolism of essential fatty acids in the above mentioned conditions. It is envisaged that low-grade systemic inflammatory conditions are much less likely in the fat-1 mouse and/or these diseases will run a relatively mild course. Identifying the anti-inflammatory compounds from n-3 fatty acids that suppress low-grade systemic inflammatory conditions and understanding their mechanism(s) of action may lead to newer therapeutic strategies.
Numerous studies on perinatal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid nutrition have clarified the influence of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) on central nervous system PUFA concentrations. In humans, omnivorous primates, and piglets, DHA and ARA plasma and red blood cells concentrations rise with dietary preformed DHA and ARA. Brain and retina DHA are responsive to diet while ARA is not. DHA is at highest concentration cells and tissues associated with high energy consumption, consistent with high DHA levels in mitochondria and synaptosomes. DHA is a substrate for docosanoids, signaling compounds of intense current interest. The high concentration in tissues with high rates of oxidative metabolism may be explained by a critical role related to oxidative metabolism.
Diabetic retinopathy is a major complication of dysregulated hyperglycemia. Retinal vascular endothelial cell dysfunction is an early event in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Studies showed that hyperglycemia-induced excess proliferation of retinal vascular endothelial cells can be abrogated by docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 ω-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 ω-3). The influence of dietary omega-3 PUFA on brain zinc metabolism has been previously implied. Zn2+ is essential for the activity of Δ6 desaturase as a co-factor that, in turn, converts essential fatty acids to their respective long chain metabolites. Whether essential fatty acids (EFAs) α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid have similar beneficial effect remains poorly understood.
RF/6A cells were treated with different concentrations of high glucose, α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid and Zn2+. The alterations in mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase enzyme activity, cell membrane fluidity, reactive oxygen species generation, SOD enzyme and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion were evaluated.
Studies showed that hyperglycemia-induced excess proliferation of retinal vascular endothelial cells can be abrogated by both linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA), while the saturated fatty acid, palmitic acid was ineffective. A dose–response study with ALA showed that the activity of the mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase enzyme was suppressed at all concentrations of glucose tested to a significant degree. High glucose enhanced fluorescence polarization and microviscocity reverted to normal by treatment with Zn2+ and ALA. ALA was more potent that Zn2+. Increased level of high glucose caused slightly increased ROS generation that correlated with corresponding decrease in SOD activity. ALA suppressed ROS generation to a significant degree in a dose dependent fashion and raised SOD activity significantly. ALA suppressed high-glucose-induced VEGF secretion by RF/6A cells.
These results suggest that EFAs such as ALA and LA may have beneficial action in the prevention of high glucose-induced cellular damage.
α-linolenic acid; Diabetic retinopathy; Oxidative stress; Membrane fluidity
Recent studies have focused on the use of multi-nutrient dietary interventions in search of alternatives for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study we investigated to which extent long-term consumption of two specific multi-nutrient diets can modulate AD-related etiopathogenic mechanisms and behavior in 11-12-month-old AβPPswe-PS1dE9 mice. Starting from 2 months of age, male AβPP-PS1 mice and wild-type littermates were fed either a control diet, the DHA+EPA+UMP (DEU) diet enriched with uridine monophosphate (UMP) and the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), or the Fortasyn® Connect (FC) diet enriched with the DEU diet plus phospholipids, choline, folic acid, vitamins and antioxidants. We performed behavioral testing, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, immunohistochemistry, biochemical analyses and quantitative real-time PCR to gain a better understanding of the potential mechanisms by which these multi-nutrient diets exert protective properties against AD. Our results show that both diets were equally effective in changing brain fatty acid and cholesterol profiles. However, the diets differentially affected AD-related pathologies and behavioral measures, suggesting that the effectiveness of specific nutrients may depend on the dietary context in which they are provided. The FC diet was more effective than the DEU diet in counteracting neurodegenerative aspects of AD and enhancing processes involved in neuronal maintenance and repair. Both diets elevated interleukin-1β mRNA levels in AβPP-PS1 and wild-type mice. The FC diet additionally restored neurogenesis in AβPP-PS1 mice, decreased hippocampal levels of unbound choline-containing compounds in wild-type and AβPP-PS1 animals, suggesting diminished membrane turnover, and decreased anxiety-related behavior in the open field behavior. In conclusion, the current data indicate that specific multi-nutrient diets can influence AD-related etiopathogenic processes. Intervention with the FC diet might be of interest for several other neurodegenerative and neurological disorders.
Omega-3 fatty acids (i.e., docosahexaenoic acid; DHA), similar to exercise, improve cognitive function, promote neuroplasticity, and protect against neurological lesion. In this study, we investigated a possible synergistic action between DHA dietary supplementation and voluntary exercise on modulating synaptic plasticity and cognition. Rats received DHA dietary supplementation (1.25% DHA) with or without voluntary exercise for 12 days. We found that the DHA-enriched diet significantly increased spatial learning ability, and these effects were enhanced by exercise. The DHA-enriched diet increased levels of pro-BDNF and mature BDNF, whereas the additional application of exercise boosted the levels of both. Furthermore, the levels of the activated forms of CREB and synapsin I were incremented by the DHA-enriched diet with greater elevation by the concurrent application of exercise. While the DHA diet reduced hippocampal oxidized protein levels, a combination of a DHA diet and exercise resulted in a greater reduction rate. The levels of activated forms of hippocampal Akt and CaMKII were increased by the DHA-enriched diet, and with even greater elevation by a combination of diet and exercise. Akt and CaMKII signaling are crucial step by which BDNF exerts its action on synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. These results indicate that the DHA diet enhance the effects of exercise on cognition and BDNF-related synaptic plasticity, a capacity that may be used to promote mental health and reduce risk of neurological disorders.
DHA; exercise; BDNF; omega-3 fatty acids; cognition