Dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation may be beneficial for chronic brain illnesses, but the issue is not agreed on. We examined effects of dietary n-3 PUFA deprivation or supplementation, compared with an n-3 PUFA adequate diet (containing alpha-linolenic acid [18:3 n-3] but not docosahexaenoic acid [DHA, 22:6n-3]), on brain markers of lipid metabolism and excitotoxicity, in rats treated chronically with NMDA or saline.
Male rats after weaning were maintained on one of three diets for 15 weeks. After 12 weeks, each diet group was injected i.p. daily with saline (1 ml/kg) or a subconvulsive dose of NMDA (25 mg/kg) for 3 additional weeks. Then, brain fatty acid concentrations and various markers of excitotoxicity and fatty acid metabolism were measured.
Compared to the diet-adequate group, brain DHA concentration was reduced, while n-6 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-6) concentration was increased in the n-3 deficient group; arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) concentration was unchanged. These concentrations were unaffected by fish oil supplementation. Chronic NMDA increased brain cPLA2 activity in each of the three groups, but n-3 PUFA deprivation or fish oil did not change cPLA2 activity or protein compared with the adequate group. sPLA2 expression was unchanged in the three conditions, whereas iPLA2 expression was reduced by deprivation but not changed by supplementation. BDNF protein was reduced by NMDA in N-3 PUFA deficient rats, but protein levels of IL-1β, NGF, and GFAP did not differ between groups.
N-3 PUFA deprivation significantly worsened several pathological NMDA-induced changes produced in diet adequate rats, whereas n-3 PUFA supplementation did not affect NMDA induced changes. Supplementation may not be critical for this measured neuropathology once the diet has an adequate n-3 PUFA content.
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn-6, 22:5n-6) is an n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) whose brain concentration can be increased in rodents by dietary n-3 PUFA deficiency, which may contribute to their behavioral dysfunction. We used our in vivo intravenous infusion method to see if brain DPAn-6 turnover and metabolism also were altered with deprivation. We studied male rats that had been fed for 15 weeks post-weaning an n-3 PUFA adequate diet containing 4.6% alpha-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) or a deficient diet (0.2% α-LNA), each lacking docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6). [1-14C]DPAn-6 was infused intravenously for 5 min in unanesthetized rats, after which the brain underwent high-energy microwaving, and then was analyzed. The n-3 PUFA deficient compared with adequate diet increased DPAn-6 and decreased DHA concentrations in plasma and brain, while minimally changing brain AA concentration. Incorporation rates of unesterified DPAn-6 from plasma into individual brain phospholipids were increased 5.2–7.7 fold, while turnover rates were increased 2.1–4.7 fold. The observations suggest that increased metabolism and brain concentrations of DPAn-6 and its metabolites, together with a reduced brain DHA concentration, contribute to behavioral and functional abnormalities reported with dietary n-3 PUFA deprivation in rodents.
docosapentaenoic; docosahexaenoic; deficient; turnover; kinetics; brain; diet; n-6; PUFA; arachidonic; rat; phospholipase A2
Calcium-independent phospholipase A2 group VIA (iPLA2β) releases docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from phospholipids in vitro. Mutations in the iPLA2β gene, PLA2G6, are associated with dystonia-parkinsonism and infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. To understand the role of iPLA2β in brain, we applied our in vivo kinetic method using radiolabeled DHA in 4 to 5-month-old wild type (iPLA2β+/+) and knockout (iPLA2β−/−) mice, and measured brain DHA kinetics, lipid concentrations, and expression of PLA2, cyclooxygenase (COX), and lipoxygenase (LOX) enzymes. Compared to iPLA2β+/+ mice, iPLA2β−/− mice showed decreased rates of incorporation of unesterified DHA in plasma into brain phospholipids, reduced concentration of several fatty acid residues (including DHA) esterified in ethanolamine- and serine-glycerophospholipids, and increased lysophospholipid fatty acid concentrations. DHA turnover rates in brain phospholipids did not differ between genotypes. In iPLA2β−/− mice, brain levels of iPLA2β mRNA, protein, and activity were decreased, as was the iPLA2γ (Group VIB PLA2) mRNA level. Brain levels of secretory sPLA2-V mRNA, protein, and activity and cytosolic cPLA2-IVA mRNA were increased in iPLA2β−/− mice. Levels of COX-1 protein were decreased in brain, while COX-2 protein and mRNA were increased. Levels of 5-, 12-, and 15-LOX proteins did not differ significantly between genotypes. Thus, genetic iPLA2β deficiency in mice is associated with profound reorganization of lipid-metabolizing enzyme expression and of phospholipid fatty acid content of brain (particularly of DHA), which may be relevant to the neurologic abnormalities in humans with iPLA2β mutations.
iPLA2; knockout; mice; docosahexaenoic acid; brain; turnover; incorporation; lipid; PLA2G6; phospholipid metabolism
Dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation in rodents reduces brain arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) concentration and 20:4n-6-preferring cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2-IVA) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression, while increasing brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) concentration and DHA-selective Ca2+-independent iPLA2-VIA expression. We hypothesized that these changes are accompanied by upregulated brain DHA metabolic rates. Using a fatty acid model, brain DHA concentrations and kinetics were measured in unanesthetized male rats fed, for 15 weeks post-weaning, an n-6 PUFA “adequate” (31.4 wt% linoleic acid) or “deficient” (2.7 wt% linoleic acid) diet, each lacking 20:4n-6 and DHA. [1-14C]DHA was infused intravenously, arterial blood was sampled, and the brain was microwaved at 5 min and analyzed. Rats fed the n-6 PUFA deficient compared with adequate diet had significantly reduced n-6 PUFA concentrations in brain phospholipids but increased eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), docosapentaenoic acidn-3 (DPAn-3, 22:5n-3) and DHA (by 9.4%) concentrations, particularly in ethanolamine glycerophospholipid. Incorporation rates of unesterified DHA from plasma, which represent DHA metabolic loss from brain, were increased 45% in brain phospholipids, as was DHA turnover. Increased DHA metabolism following dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation may increase brain concentrations of antiinflammatory DHA metabolites, which with a reduced brain n-6 PUFA content, likely promote neuroprotection. (199 words)
linoleic acid; arachidonic PUFA; diet; turnover; metabolism; docosahexaenoic; kinetics; brain; alpha-linolenic; rat
Knowing threshold changes in brain lipids and lipid enzymes during dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid deprivation may elucidate dietary regulation of brain lipid metabolism. To determine thresholds, rats were fed for 15 weeks DHA-free diets having graded reductions of α-linolenic acid (α-LNA). Compared with control diet (4.6% α-LNA), plasma DHA fell significantly at 1.7% dietary α-LNA while brain DHA remained unchanged down to 0.8% α-LNA, when plasma and brain docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn-6) were increased and DHA-selective iPLA2 and COX-1 activities were downregulated. Brain AA was unchanged by deprivation, but AA selective-cPLA2, sPLA2 and COX-2 activities were increased at or below 0.8% dietary α-LNA, possibly in response to elevated brain DPAn-6. In summary, homeostatic mechanisms appear to maintain a control brain DHA concentration down to 0.8% dietary DHA despite reduced plasma DHA, when DPAn-6 replaces DHA. At extreme deprivation, decreased brain iPLA2 and COX-1 activities may reduce brain DHA loss.
n-3 PUFA deprivation; rat brain; phospholipase A2; docosapentaenoic acid
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated infection involves the entry of virus-bearing monocytes into the brain, followed by microglial activation, neuroinflammation, and upregulated arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism. The HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) rat, a noninfectious HIV-1 model, shows neurologic and behavioral abnormalities after 5 months of age. We hypothesized that brain AA metabolism would be elevated in older HIV-1 Tg rats in vivo. Arachidonic acid incorporation from the plasma into the brain of unanesthetized 7-to-9-month-old rats was imaged using quantitative autoradiography, after [1-14C]AA infusion. Brain phospholipase (PLA2) activities and eicosanoid concentrations were measured, and enzymes were localized by immunostaining. AA incorporation coefficients k* and rates Jin, measures of AA metabolism, were significantly higher in 69 of 81 brain regions in HIV-1 Tg than in control rats, as were activities of cytosolic (c)PLA2-IV, secretory (s)PLA2, and calcium independent (i)PLA2-VI, as well as prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4 concentrations. Immunostaining of somatosensory cortex showed elevated cPLA2-IV, sPLA2-IIA, and cyclooxygenase-2 in neurons. Brain AA incorporation and other markers of AA metabolism are upregulated in HIV-1 Tg rats, in which neurologic changes and neuroinflammation have been reported. Positron emission tomography with [1-11C]AA could be used to test whether brain AA metabolism is upregulated in HIV-1-infected patients, in relation to cognitive and behavioral disturbances.
arachidonic acid; brain imaging; eicosanoids; HIV-1; phospholipase A2
Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation increases expression of arachidonic acid (AA 20:4n-6)-selective cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) IVA and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 in rat brain, while decreasing expression of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA 22:6n-3)-selective calcium-independent iPLA2 VIA. Assuming that these enzyme changes represented brain homeostatic responses to deprivation, we hypothesized that dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation would produce changes in the opposite directions.
Brain expression of PUFA-metabolizing enzymes and their transcription factors was quantified in male rats fed an n-6 PUFA adequate or deficient diet for 15 weeks post-weaning.
The deficient compared with adequate diet increased brain mRNA, protein and activity of iPLA2 VIA and 15-lipoxygenase (LOX), but decreased cPLA2 IVA and COX-2 expression. The brain protein level of the iPLA2 transcription factor SREBP-1 was elevated, while protein levels were decreased for AP-2α and NF-κB p65, cPLA2 and COX-2 transcription factors, respectively.
With dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation, rat brain PUFA metabolizing enzymes and some of their transcription factors change in a way that would homeostatically dampen reductions in brain n-6 PUFA concentrations and metabolism, while n-3 PUFA metabolizing enzyme expression is increased. The changes correspond to reported in vitro enzyme selectivities for AA compared with DHA. (198 words)
linoleic acid; arachidonic; essential fatty acid; deficient; turnover rate; cyclooxygenase; brain; PUFA; phospholipase; lipoxygenase; SREBP; transcription
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by brain deposition of senile (neuritic) plaques containing β-amyloid, neurofibrillary tangles, synaptic loss, neuroinflammation, and overexpression of arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) metabolizing enzymes. Lipid concentration changes have been reported in different brain regions, but often partially and/or as a percent of the total concentration. In this study, we measured absolute concentrations (per gram wet weight) of a wide range of lipids in postmortem prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 9) from 10 AD patients and 9 controls. Mean total brain lipid, phospholipid, cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations did not differ significantly between AD and controls. There was a significant 73% decrease in plasmalogen choline, but no difference in other measured phospholipids. Fatty acid concentrations in total phospholipid did not differ from control. However, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) was reduced in ethanolamine glycerophospholipid and choline glycerophospholipid, but increased in phosphatidylinositol. AA was reduced in choline glycerophospholipid, but increased in phosphatidylinositol, while docosatetraenoic acid (22:4n-6), an AA elongation product, was reduced in total brain lipid, cholesteryl ester and triglyceride. These lipid changes may contribute to membrane instability and synaptic loss in AD, and reflect neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity.
Alzheimer; brain; arachidonic; docosahexaenoic; phospholipid; plasmalogen; cholesteryl ester; postmortem; lipid
Dietary requirements for maintaining brain and heart docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) homeostasis are not agreed on, in part because rates of liver DHA synthesis from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:2n-3) have not been quantified. These rates can be estimated in vivo using intravenous radiotracer- or heavy isotope-labeled α-LNA infusion. In adult unanesthetized male rats, such infusion shows that liver synthesis-secretion rates of DHA from α-LNA markedly exceed brain and heart DHA synthesis rates and brain DHA consumption rate, and that liver but not heart or brain synthesis is upregulated as dietary n-3 PUFA content is reduced. These differences in rate reflect much higher expression of DHA-synthesizing enzymes in liver, and upregulation of liver but not heart or brain enzyme expression by reduced dietary n-3 PUFA content. A noninvasive intravenous [U-13C]α-LNA infusion method that produces steady-state liver tracer metabolism gives exact liver DHA synthesis-secretion rates and could be extended for human studies.
secretion; synthesis; docosahexaenoic acid; α-linolenic acid; kinetics; liver; brain; heart; rat; PUFA; n-3
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated infection involves entry of virus-bearing monocytes into the brain, followed by microglial activation, neuroinflammation, and upregulated arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism. The HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) rat, a non-infectious HIV-1 model, shows neurological and behavioral abnormalities after 5 months of age. We hypothesized that brain AA metabolism would be elevated in older HIV-1 Tg rats in vivo. AA incorporation from the plasma into the brain of unanesthetized 7-to-9-month-old rats was imaged using quantitative autoradiography, after [1-14C]AA infusion. Brain phospholipase (PLA2) activities and eicosanoid concentrations were measured, and enzymes were localized by immunostaining. AA incorporation coefficients k* and rates Jin, measures of AA metabolism, were significantly higher in 69 of 81 brain regions in HIV-1 Tg than in control rats, as were activities of cytosolic (c)PLA2-IV, secretory (s)PLA2 and calcium independent (i)PLA2-VI, as well as prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4 concentrations. Immunostaining of somatosensory cortex showed elevated cPLA2-IV, sPLA2-IIA and cyclooxygenase-2 in neurons. Brain AA incorporation and other markers of AA metabolism are upregulated in HIV-1 Tg rats, in which neurologic changes and neuroinflammation have been reported. Positron emission tomography with [1-11C]AA could be used to test whether brain AA metabolism is upregulated in HIV-1 infected patients, in relation to cognitive and behavioral disturbances.
arachidonic acid; brain imaging; eicosanoids; HIV-1; phospholipase A2
Reduced concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) have been reported in the postmortem bipolar disorder (BD) brain. Additionally, an increased prevalence of BD has been related to low dietary intake of fish, and dietary supplements containing fish products or DHA have been reported to ameliorate BD symptoms. These observations suggest that brain lipid metabolism, particularly involving DHA, is disturbed in BD. To test this suggestion, concentrations of different lipids were measured using internal standards in postmortem frontal cortex from eight BD patients and six matched controls. Compared with control cortex, the BD cortex showed no statistically significant difference in mean concentrations (per gram wet weight) of “stable” lipids (total lipid, total phospholipid, individual phospholipids, or cholesterol), of unesterified fatty acids, or of esterified DHA or AA within stable lipids. Fractional esterified AA and DHA concentrations also did not differ significantly between groups. Some fatty acid concentration differences were found in low-abundant cholesteryl ester. These results do not support the hypothesis of disturbed brain lipid concentrations, including concentrations of AA and DHA, in BD. Positron emission tomography might be used, however, to see if brain AA or DHA kinetics are disturbed in the disease.
bipolar disorder; brain; docosahexaenoic; fatty acid; human; n-3 PUFA; lipid
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
Plasma α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) or linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) does not contribute significantly to the brain content of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) or arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6), respectively, and neither DHA nor AA can be synthesized de novo in vertebrate tissue. Therefore, measured rates of incorporation of circulating DHA or AA into brain exactly represent the rates of consumption by brain. Positron emission tomography (PET) has been used to show, based on this information, that the adult human brain consumes AA and DHA at rates of 17.8 and 4.6 mg/day, respectively, and that AA consumption does not change significantly with age. In unanesthetized adult rats fed an n-3 PUFA “adequate” diet containing 4.6% α-LNA (of total fatty acids) as its only n-3 PUFA, the rate of liver synthesis of DHA is more than sufficient to replace maintain brain DHA, whereas the brain’s rate of synthesis is very low and unable to do so. Reducing dietary α-LNA in an DHA-free diet fed to rats leads to upregulation of liver coefficients of α-LNA conversion to DHA and of liver expression of elongases and desaturases that catalyze this conversion. Concurrently, the brain DHA loss slows due to downregulation of several of its DHA-metabolizing enzymes. Dietary α-LNA deficiency also promotes accumulation of brain docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-6), and upregulates expression of AA-metabolizing enzymes, including cytosolic and secretory phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase-2. These changes, plus reduced levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), likely render the brain more vulnerable to neuropathological insults.
docosahexaenoic acid; liver; brain; rat; n-3 PUFAs; imaging; metabolism; phospholipase A2; BDNF; diet; arachidonic acid
Few studies have examined effects of feeding animals a diet deficient in n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) but with an adequate amount of n-3 PUFAs. To do this, we fed post-weaning male rats a control n-6 and n-3 PUFA adequate diet and an n-6 deficient diet for 15 weeks, and measured stable lipid and fatty acid concentrations in different organs. The deficient diet contained nutritionally essential linoleic acid (LA,18:2n-6) as 2.3% of total fatty acids (10% of the recommended minimum LA requirement for rodents) but no arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6), and an adequate amount (4.8% of total fatty acids) of α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3). The deficient compared with adequate diet did not significantly affect body weight, but decreased testis weight by 10%. AA concentration was decreased significantly in serum (−86%), brain (−27%), liver (−68%), heart (−39%), testis (−25%), and epididymal adipose tissue (−77%). Eicosapentaenoic (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) concentrations were increased in all but adipose tissue, and the total monounsaturated fatty acid concentration was increased in all organs. The concentration of 20:3n-9, a marker of LA deficiency, was increased by the deficient diet, and serum concentrations of triacylglycerol, total cholesterol and total phospholipid were reduced. In summary, 15 weeks of dietary n-6 PUFA deficiency with n-3 PUFA adequacy significantly reduced n-6 PUFA concentrations in different organs of male rats, while increasing n-3 PUFA and monounsaturated fatty acid concentrations. This rat model could be used to study metabolic, functional and behavioral effects of dietary n-6 PUFA deficiency.
Linoleic acid; Arachidonic acid; Dietary deficiency; PUFA