DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, C22:6,n−3) has been shown to promote neurite growth and synaptogenesis in embryonic hippocampal neurons, supporting the importance of DHA known for hippocampus-related learning and memory function. In the present study, we demonstrate that DHA metabolism to DEA (N-docosahexaenoylethanolamide) is a significant mechanism for hippocampal neuronal development, contributing to synaptic function. We found that a fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB597 potentiates DHA-induced neurite growth, synaptogenesis and synaptic protein expression. Active metabolism of DHA to DEA was observed in embryonic day 18 hippocampal neuronal cultures, which was increased further by URB597. Synthetic DEA promoted hippocampal neurite growth and synaptogenesis at substantially lower concentrations in comparison with DHA. DEA-treated neurons increased the expression of synapsins and glutamate receptor subunits and exhibited enhanced glutamatergic synaptic activity, as was the case for DHA. The DEA level in mouse fetal hippocampi was altered according to the maternal dietary supply of n−3 fatty acids, suggesting that DEA formation is a relevant in vivo process responding to the DHA status. In conclusion, DHA metabolism to DEA is a significant biochemical mechanism for neurite growth, synaptogenesis and synaptic protein expression, leading to enhanced glutamatergic synaptic function. The novel DEA-dependent mechanism offers a new molecular insight into hippocampal neurodevelopment and function.
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); N-docosahexaenoylethanolamide (DEA); hippocampus; neurite growth; neuron; synaptogenesis
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), the major polyunsaturated fatty acid accumulated in the brain during development, has been implicated in learning and memory, but underlying cellular mechanisms are not clearly understood. Here, we demonstrate that DHA significantly affects hippocampal neuronal development and synaptic function in developing hippocampi. In embryonic neuronal cultures, DHA supplementation uniquely promoted neurite growth, synapsin puncta formation and synaptic protein expression, particularly synapsins and glutamate receptors. In DHA-supplemented neurons, spontaneous synaptic activity was significantly increased, mostly because of enhanced glutamatergic synaptic activity. Conversely, hippocampal neurons from DHA-depleted fetuses showed inhibited neurite growth and synaptogenesis. Furthermore, n-3 fatty acid deprivation during development resulted in marked decreases of synapsins and glutamate receptor subunits in the hippocampi of 18-day-old pups with concomitant impairment of long-term potentiation, a cellular mechanism underlying learning and memory. While levels of synapsins and NMDA receptor subunit NR2A were decreased in most hippocampal regions, NR2A expression was particularly reduced in CA3, suggesting possible role of DHA in CA3-NMDA receptor-dependent learning and memory processes. The DHA-induced neurite growth, synaptogenesis, synapsin, and glutamate receptor expression, and glutamatergic synaptic function may represent important cellular aspects supporting the hippocampus-related cognitive function improved by DHA.
docosahexaenoic acid; hippocampal development; long-term potentiation; neurite growth; synaptic function; synaptogenesis
Docosahexenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) plays an important role in development of proper brain function in mammals. We have previously reported that DHA promotes synaptogenesis and synaptic function in hippocampal neurons while DHA-depletion in the brain due to n-3 fatty acid deficiency produces opposite effects. To gain insight into underlying molecular mechanisms, we investigated whether the brain DHA status affects the synaptic plasma membrane (SPM) proteome by using nanoLC/ESI-MS/MS and 16O/18O labeling. The DHA level in mouse brains was lowered by dietary depletion of n-3 fatty acids, and SPM was prepared by differential centrifugation followed by osmotic shock. SPM proteins from DHA-adequate and depleted brains were analyzed by nanoLC/ESI-MS/MS after SDS-PAGE, in-gel digestion and differential O18/O16 labeling. This strategy allowed comparative quantitation of more than 200 distinct membrane or membrane-associated proteins from DHA-adequate or depleted brains. We found that 18 pre- and postsynaptic proteins that are relevant to synaptic physiology were significantly down-regulated in DHA-depleted mouse brains. The protein network analysis suggests involvement of CREB and caspase-3 pathways in the DHA-dependent modulation of synaptic proteome. Reduction of specific synaptic proteins due to brain DHA-depletion may be an important mechanism for the suboptimal brain function associated with n-3 fatty acid deficiency.
Synaptic plasma membrane (SPM); synaptic proteins; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); 18O labeling; nano-LC/ESI-MS/MS; brain
We have previously demonstrated that DHA at low micromolar concentrations has a remarkable effect on morphological differentiation of hippocampal neurons by increasing the population of neurons with more branches and longer neurites. In this study, possible involvement of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) in the DHA-induced hippocampal neurite outgrowth was evaluated as DHA is an endogenous ligand for RXR. Immunocytochemical examination revealed that all RXR isoforms, RXR-alpha, -beta 1, -beta 2 and -gamma, are expressed exclusively in neurons with distinctive intracellular distribution. The cell-based dual luciferase reporter assay indicated that DHA activates RXRα at or above 10 μM but not at 1.5 μM where DHA induces neurite outgrowth. Arachidonic acid also activated RXRα in a similar concentration range but with lower efficacy. Our results suggest that DHA-induced neurite outgrowth may not be mediated by direct activation of RXRα, although involvement of other isoforms or DHA metabolites can not be excluded.
RXR; docosahexaenoic acid; arachidonic acid; hippocampal; neuronal cells
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
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
Deficiency in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a brain-essential omega-3 fatty acid, is associated with cognitive decline. Here we report that, in cytokine-stressed human neural cells, DHA attenuates amyloid-β (Aβ) secretion, an effect accompanied by the formation of NPD1, a novel, DHA-derived 10,17S-docosatriene. DHA and NPD1 were reduced in Alzheimer disease (AD) hippocampal cornu ammonis region 1, but not in the thalamus or occipital lobes from the same brains. The expression of key enzymes in NPD1 biosynthesis, cytosolic phospholipase A2 and 15-lipoxygenase, was altered in AD hippocampus. NPD1 repressed Aβ42-triggered activation of proinflammatory genes while upregulating the antiapoptotic genes encoding Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Bfl-1(A1). Soluble amyloid precursor protein-α stimulated NPD1 biosynthesis from DHA. These results indicate that NPD1 promotes brain cell survival via the induction of antiapoptotic and neuroprotective gene-expression programs that suppress Aβ42-induced neurotoxicity.
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
Diethanolamine (DEA) is a common ingredient of personal care products. Dermal administration of DEA diminishes hepatic stores of the essential nutrient choline and alters brain development. We previously reported that 80 mg/kg/day of DEA during pregnancy in mice reduced neurogenesis and increased apoptosis in the fetal hippocampus. This study was designed to establish the dose-response relationships for this effect of DEA. Timed-pregnant C57BL/6 mouse dams were dosed dermally from gestation day 7–17 with DEA at 0 (controls), 5, 40, 60, and 80 mg/kg body/day. Fetuses (embryonic day 17 [E17]) from dams treated dermally with 80 mg/kg body/day DEA had decreased neural progenitor cell mitosis at the ventricular surface of the ventricular zone (hippocampus, 54.1 ± 5.5%; cortex, 58.9 ± 6.8%; compared to controls; p < 0.01). Also, this dose of DEA to dams increased rates of apoptosis in E17 fetal hippocampus (to 177.2 ± 21.5% of control; measured using activated caspase-3; p < 0.01). This dose of DEA resulted in accumulation of DEA and its metabolites in liver and in plasma. At doses of DEA less than 80 mg/kg body/day to dams, there were no differences between treated and control groups. In a small group of human subjects, dermal treatment for 1 month with a commercially available skin lotion containing 1.8 mg DEA per gram resulted in detectable plasma concentrations of DEA and dimethyldiethanolamine, but these were far below those concentrations associated with perturbed brain development in the mouse.
diethanolamine; choline; pregnancy; brain development; mouse; hippocampus
This study revealed that pigment epithelial–derived growth factor in combination with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) enhances the regeneration of corneal nerves damaged after surgery.
This study was conducted to define whether pigment epithelial–derived growth factor (PEDF), together with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), enhances the synthesis of neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) and the regeneration of corneal nerves damaged after surgery.
Corneal stromal dissection was performed in the left eyes of adult New Zealand rabbits treated with DHA+PEDF, PEDF, or DHA for 6 weeks. In vivo confocal images of the corneas were obtained at 2, 4, and 8 weeks, and nerve areas were quantified. At 8 weeks after treatment, corneas were stained with tubulin βIII antibody, and the epithelial nerve area and the sub-basal and stromal nerve plexus were quantified. At 1 week and 2 weeks after treatment, lipids were extracted from corneas, and the synthesis of NPD1 was analyzed by mass spectrometry. Epithelial cell density was quantified by confocal microscopy 8 weeks after surgery.
In vivo confocal images at 2 and 4 weeks after surgery showed a 2.5-fold increase in corneal nerve area in PEDF+DHA–treated animals compared with control animals. Increased nerve surface areas in epithelia, subepithelia, and stroma were observed in rabbits treated for 8 weeks with PEDF+DHA. PEDF or DHA alone did not produce a significant increase. NPD1 synthesis peaked at 1 week and was four times higher in the PEDF+DHA–treated group than in the controls.
PEDF+DHA promotes the regeneration of corneal nerves. Neurotrophin-mediated NPD1 synthesis is suggested to precede nerve regeneration by demonstration of its accumulation upon addition of DHA and PEDF at earlier time points. Therefore, this signaling mechanism upregulates corneal nerve regeneration and may be targeted in neurotrophic keratitis, dry eye after refractive surgery, and other corneal diseases.
The dietary essential PUFA docosahexaenoic acid [DHA; 22:6(n-3)] is a critical contributor to cell structure and function in the nervous system, and deficits in DHA abundance are associated with cognitive decline during aging and in neurodegenerative disease. Recent studies underscore the importance of DHA-derived neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) in the homeostatic regulation of brain cell survival and repair involving neurotrophic, antiapoptotic and antiinflammatory signaling. Emerging evidence suggests that NPD1 synthesis is activated by growth factors and neurotrophins. Evolving research indicates that NPD1 has important determinant and regulatory interactions with the molecular-genetic mechanisms affecting b-amyloid precursor protein (bAPP) and amyloid beta (Ab) peptide neurobiology. Deficits in DHA or its peroxidation appear to contribute to inflammatory signaling, apoptosis, and neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer disease (AD), a common and progressive age-related neurological disorder unique to structures and processes of the human brain. This article briefly reviews our current understanding of the interactions of DHA and NPD1 on bAPP processing and Ab peptide signaling and how this contributes to oxidative and pathogenic processes characteristic of aging and AD pathology.
H. pylori drug-resistant strains and non-compliance to therapy are the major causes of H. pylori eradication failure. For some bacterial species it has been demonstrated that fatty acids have a growth inhibitory effect. Our main aim was to assess the ability of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to inhibit H. pylori growth both in vitro and in a mouse model. The effectiveness of standard therapy (ST) in combination with DHA on H. pylori eradication and recurrence prevention success was also investigated. The effects of DHA on H. pylori growth were analyzed in an in vitro dose-response study and n in vivo model. We analized the ability of H. pylori to colonize mice gastric mucosa following DHA, ST or a combination of both treatments. Our data demonstrate that DHA decreases H. pylori growth in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, DHA inhibits H. pylori gastric colonization in vivo as well as decreases mouse gastric mucosa inflammation. Addition of DHA to ST was also associated with lower H. pylori infection recurrence in the mouse model. In conclusion, DHA is an inhibitor of H. pylori growth and its ability to colonize mouse stomach. DHA treatment is also associated with a lower recurrence of H. pylori infection in combination with ST. These observations pave the way to consider DHA as an adjunct agent in H. pylori eradication treatment.
Dietary omega-3 fatty acid (i.e. docosohexaenoic acid (DHA)) and exercise are gaining recognition for supporting brain function under normal and challenging conditions. Here we evaluate the possibility that the interaction of DHA and exercise can involve specific elements of the synaptic plasma membrane. We found that voluntary exercise potentiated the effects of a 12-day DHA dietary supplementation regimen on increasing the levels of syntaxin 3 (STX-3) and the growth-associated protein (GAP-43) in the adult rat hippocampus region. STX-3 is a synaptic membrane-bound protein involved in the effects of DHA on membrane expansion. The DHA diet and exercise also elevated levels of the NMDA receptor subunit NR2B, which is important for synaptic function underlying learning and memory. The actions of exercise and DHA dietary supplementation reflected on enhanced learning performance in the Morris water maze as learning ability was associated with higher levels of STX-3 and NR2B. The overall findings reveal a mechanism by which exercise can interact with the function of DHA dietary enrichment to elevate the capacity of the adult brain for axonal growth, synaptic plasticity, and cognitive function.
Omega-3 fatty acid; Voluntary exercise; Syntaxin; Synaptic membrane; Hippocampus
Epidemiological and clinical trial findings suggest that consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) lowers the risk of Alzhemier’s disease (AD). We examined the effects of short-term (3 months) DHA enriched diet on plaque deposition and synaptic deficts in forebrain of young APPswe/PS1ΔE9 transgenic (tg) and non-transgenic (ntg) mice. Gas chromatography revealed a significant increase in DHA concomitant with a decrease of arachidonic acid in both brain and liver in mice fed with DHA. Female tg mice consumed relatively more food daily than ntg female mice, independent of diet. Plaque load was significantly reduced in the cortex, ventral hippocampus and striatum of female APPswe/PS1ΔE9 tg mice on DHA diet compared to female tg mice on control diet. LR11 levels were unchanged in mice on DHA. Moreover drebrin levels were significantly increased in the hippocampus of tg mice on the DHA diet. Finally, in vitro DHA treatment prevented amyloid toxicity in cell cultures. Our findings support the concept that increased DHA consumption may play and important role in preventing brain insults in AD.
n-3 fatty acids; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; transgenics; drebrin
The omega-3 fatty acid ethanolamides, docosahexaenoyl ethanolamide (DHEA) and eicosapentaenoyl ethanolamide (EPEA), displayed greater anti-proliferative potency than their parent omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in LNCaP and PC3 prostate cancer cells. DHEA and EPEA activated cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors in vitro with significant potency, suggesting that they are endocannabinoids. Both LNCaP and PC3 cells expressed CB1 and CB2 receptors, and the CB1- and CB2-selective antagonists, AM281 and AM630, administered separately or together, reduced the anti-proliferative potencies of EPEA and EPA but not of DHEA or DHA in PC3 cells and of EPA but not of EPEA, DHEA or DHA in LNCaP cells. Even so, EPEA and EPA may not have inhibited PC3 or LNCaP cell proliferation via cannabinoid receptors since the anti-proliferative potency of EPEA was well below the potency it displayed as a CB1 or CB2 receptor agonist. Indeed, these receptors may mediate a protective effect because the anti-proliferative potency of DHEA in LNCaP and PC3 cells was increased by separate or combined administration of AM281 and AM630. The anandamide-metabolizing enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), was highly expressed in LNCaP but not PC3 cells. Evidence was obtained that FAAH metabolizes EPEA and DHEA and that the anti-proliferative potencies of these ethanolamides in LNCaP cells can be enhanced by inhibiting this enzyme. Our findings suggest that the expression of cannabinoid receptors and of FAAH in some tumour cells could well influence the effectiveness of DHA and EPA or their ethanolamide derivatives as anticancer agents.
Learning and memory depend on dendritic spine actin assembly and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PFA). High DHA consumption is associated with reduced Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk, yet mechanisms and therapeutic potential remain elusive. Here, we report that reduction of dietary n-3 PFA in an AD mouse model resulted in 80%–90% losses of the p85α subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and the postsynaptic actin-regulating protein drebrin, as in AD brain. The loss of postsynaptic proteins was associated with increased oxidation, without concomitant neuron or pre-synaptic protein loss. N-3 PFA depletion increased caspase-cleaved actin, which was localized in dendrites ultrastructurally. Treatment of n-3 PFA-restricted mice with DHA protected against these effects and behavioral deficits and increased antiapoptotic BAD phosphorylation. Since n-3 PFAs are essential for p85-mediated CNS insulin signaling and selective protection of postsynaptic proteins, these findings have implications for neurodegenerative diseases where synaptic loss is critical, especially AD.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6ω3) is a fundamental component of cell membranes, especially in the brain and retina. In the experimental animal, DHA deficiency leads to suboptimal neurological performance and visual deficiencies. Children with the Zellweger syndrome (ZS) have a profound DHA deficiency and symptoms that can be attributed to their extremely low DHA levels. These children seem to have a metabolic defect in DHA biosynthesis, which has never been totally elucidated. Treatment with DHA ethyl ester greatly improves these patients, but if we could normalize their endogenous DHA production we could get additional benefits. We examined whether DHA biosynthesis by Δ4-desaturation could be enhanced in the human species by transfecting the enzyme, and if this could normalize the DHA levels in cells from ZS patients.
We showed that the Δ4-desaturase gene (Fad4) from Thraustochytrium sp, which can be expressed by heterologous transfection in other plant and yeast cells, can also be transfected into human lymphocytes, and that it expresses the enzyme (FAD4, Δ4-desaturase) by producing DHA from direct Δ4-desaturation of 22:5ω3. We also found that the other substrate for Δ4-desaturase, 22:4ω6, was parallely desaturated to 22:5ω6.
The present "in vitro" study demonstrates that Δ4-desaturase can be transfected into human cells and synthesize DHA (as well as 22:5ω6, DPA) from 22:5ω3 and 22:4ω6, respectively, by putative Δ4-desaturation. Even if this pathway may not be the physiological route for DHA biosynthesis "in vivo", the present study opens new perspectives for the treatment of patients within the ZS spectrum.
Enrichment of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n–3), in the brain is known to be critical for optimal brain development and function. Mechanisms for DHA’s beneficial effects in the nervous system are not clearly understood at present. DHA is incorporated into the phospholipids in neuronal membranes, which in turn can influence not only the membrane chemical and physical properties but also the cell signaling involved in neuronal survival, proliferation and differentiation. Our studies have indicated that DHA supplementation promotes phosphatidylserine (PS) accumulation and inhibits neuronal cell death under challenged conditions, supporting a notion that DHA is an important neuroprotective agent. This article summarizes our findings on the DHA-mediated membrane-related signaling mechanisms that might explain some of the beneficial effects of DHA, particularly on neuronal survival.
The data derived from epidemiological and animal models confirm a beneficial effect of fish oil (rich in ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) in the amelioration of tumor growth and progression, including breast cancer. The breast cancer patients often develop bone metastasis evidenced by osteolytic lesions, leading to severe pain and bone fracture. Using a mouse model of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell metastasis to bone, here we show that fish oil diet enriched in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) prevents the formation of osteolytic lesions in bone, indicating suppression of cancer cell metastasis to bone. These results are supported by our data showing both DHA and EPA significantly attenuate the migration/invasion of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in culture. The mechanism that limits breast cancer cells to selective metastasis to bone remains hitherto unexplored. Aberrant increased expression of CD44 is associated with generation of cancer stem cells, which contribute to metastasis of breast cancer cells. We demonstrate that DHA and EPA significantly inhibit the expression of CD44 protein and mRNA by a transcriptional mechanism. Furthermore, we show markedly reduced levels of CD44 mRNA and protein in the tumors of mice, which were fed fish oil diet than those in control diet. Our data provide the first evidence for a salutary effect of fish oil on breast cancer metastasis to bone. Our results identify a novel function of the fish oil active components, DHA and EPA, which target the cell-intrinsic pro-metastatic molecule CD44 to inhibit migration/invasion.
The combination of fish oil-derived docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6, n-3) and butyrate (4:0), a fiber fermentation product, synergize to enhance colonocyte apoptosis by inducing a p53-independent, oxidation sensitive, mitochondrial Ca2+-dependent (intrinsic) pathway.
In this study, we probed the specificity of n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid induction of Ca2+-dependent proapoptotic events in immortalized YAMC colonocytes. We also determined whether combinations of polyunsaturated fatty acid and butyrate trigger endoplasmic stress (ER) stress conditions, thereby promoting mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. Cultures were treated with 0–50 μM of DHA (22:6, n-3), EPA (20:5, n-3), AA (20:4, n-6), LA (18:2, n-6) or OA (18:1, n-9) for a total of 72 h ± RU-360, to inhibit the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter, for 30 min prior to butyrate (0 or 5 mM) co-treatment.
DHA and butyrate combination maximally induced apoptosis and mitochondrial-to-cytosolic Ca2+ levels. In comparison, EPA, a precursor to DHA, was minimally effective. Similarly, AA and OA in combination with butyrate had no effect on mitochondrial Ca2+ or apoptosis compared to butyrate alone. DHA ± butyrate co-treatment minimally altered ER stress regulated genes, CHOP and eIF2α.
These data indicate that butyrate and DHA, but not EPA, work coordinately to trigger an ER-independent, Ca2+-dependent intrinsic mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic pathway in colonocytes.
chemoprevention; ER stress; fish oil; dietary fiber; colon cancer; combination chemotherapy; Young adult mouse colon (YAMC) cells
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
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is critical for maintaining normal brain structure and function, and is considered neuroprotective. Its brain concentration depends on dietary DHA content and hepatic conversion from its dietary derived n-3 precursor, α-linolenic acid (α-LNA). We have developed an in vivo method in rats using quantitative autoradiography and intravenously injected radiolabeled DHA to image net incorporation into the brain of unesterified plasma DHA, and showed with this method that the incorporation rate of DHA equals the rate of brain metabolic DHA consumption. The method has been extended for use in humans with positron emission tomography (PET). Furthermore, imaging in unanesthetized rats using DHA incorporation as a biomarker in response to acute N-methyl-D-aspartate administration confirms that regional DHA signaling is independent of extracellular calcium, and likely mediated by a calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2). Studies in mice in which iPLA2-VIA (β) was knocked out confirmed that this enzyme is critical for baseline and muscarinic cholinergic signaling involving DHA. Thus, quantitative imaging of DHA incorporation from plasma into brain can be used as an in vivo biomarker of brain DHA metabolism and neurotransmission.
docosahexaenoic acid; PLA2; biomarker; imaging; calcium; PET
The common neurotransmitter serotonin controls different aspects of early neuronal differentiation, although the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we report that activation of the serotonin 5-HT7 receptor promotes synaptogenesis and enhances synaptic activity in hippocampal neurons at early postnatal stages. An analysis of Gα12-deficient mice reveals a critical role of G12-protein for 5-HT7 receptor-mediated effects in neurons. In organotypic preparations from the hippocampus of juvenile mice, stimulation of 5-HT7R/G12 signaling potentiates formation of dendritic spines, increases neuronal excitability, and modulates synaptic plasticity. In contrast, in older neuronal preparations, morphogenetic and synaptogenic effects of 5-HT7/G12 signaling are abolished. Moreover, inhibition of 5-HT7 receptor had no effect on synaptic plasticity in hippocampus of adult animals. Expression analysis reveals that the production of 5-HT7 and Gα12-proteins in the hippocampus undergoes strong regulation with a pronounced transient increase during early postnatal stages. Thus, regulated expression of 5-HT7 receptor and Gα12-protein may represent a molecular mechanism by which serotonin specifically modulates formation of initial neuronal networks during early postnatal development.
Epidermal fatty acid-binding protein (E-FABP), a member of the family of FABPs, exhibits a robust expression in neurons during axonal growth in development and in nerve regeneration following nerve injury. This study examines the impact of E-FABP expression in normal neurite extension in differentiating pheochromocytoma cell (PC12) cultures supplemented with selected long chain free fatty acids (LCFFA). We found that E-FABP binds to a broad range of saturated and unsaturated LCFFAs, including those with potential interest for neuronal differentiation and axonal growth such as C22:6n-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), C20:5n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and C20:4n-6 arachidonic acid (ARA). PC12 cells exposed to nerve growth factor (NGFDPC12) exhibit high E-FABP expression that is blocked by mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor U0126. Nerve growth factor-differentiated pheochromocytoma cells (NGFDPC12) antisense clones (NGFDPC12-AS) which exhibit low E-FABP expression have fewer/shorter neurites than cells transfected with vector only or NGFDPC12 sense cells (NGFDPC12-S). Replenishing NGFDPC12-AS cells with biotinylated recombinant E-FABP (biotin-E-FABP) protein restores normal neurite outgrowth. Cellular localization of biotin-E-FABP in NGFDPC12 was detected mostly in the cytoplasm and in the nuclear region. Treatment of NGFDPC12 with DHA, EPA, or ARA further enhances neurite length but it does not trigger further induction of TrkA or MEK phosphorylation or E-FABP mRNA observed in differentiating PC12 cells without LCFFA supplementation. Significantly, DHA and EPA neurite stimulating effects are higher in NGFDPC12-S than in NGFDPC12-AS cells. These findings are consistent with the scenario that neurite extension of differentiating PC12 cells, including further stimulation by DHA and EPA, requires sufficient cellular levels of E-FABP.
C20:5n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid; C22:6n-3 docosahexaenoic acid; epidermal fatty acid-binding protein; fatty acid binding; n-3/n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids; neuronal differentiation
A growing body of clinical and epidemiological evidence suggests that low dietary intake and/or tissue levels of n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are associated with postpartum depression. Low tissue levels of n-3 PUFAs, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are reported in patients with either postpartum or nonpuerperal depression. Moreover, the physiological demands of pregnancy and lactation put childbearing women at particular risk of experiencing a loss of DHA from tissues including the brain, especially in individuals with inadequate dietary n-3 PUFA intake or suboptimal metabolic capabilities. Animal studies indicate that decreased brain DHA in postpartum females leads to several depression-associated neurobiological changes including decreased hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and augmented hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to stress. Taken together, these findings support a role for decreased brain n-3 PUFAs in the multifactorial etiology of depression, particularly postpartum depression. These findings, and their implications for research and clinical practice, are discussed.