Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the central nervous system: evolution of concepts and nutritional implications throughout life

Jean-Marc Alessandri, Philippe Guesnet, Sylvie Vancassel, Pierre Astorg, Isabelle Denis, Bénédicte Langelier, Sabah Aïd, Carine Poumès-Ballihaut, Gaëlle Champeil-Potokar, Monique Lavialle
2004 Reproduction nutrition development (Print)  
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) are the major polyunsaturated fatty acids in the membranes of brain and retinal cells. Animals specifically deficient in dietary n-3 fatty acids have low DHA content in their membranes, reduced visual acuity and impaired learning ability. Studies on bottle-fed human infants have shown that adding DHA and AA to milk replacer-formulas can bring their concentrations in the infant blood lipids to values as high as those produced
more » ... h as those produced by breast-feeding and significantly improves mental development and maturation of visual function. In older subjects, diverse neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases have been associated to decreased blood levels of n-3 PUFA. Low intakes of fish or of n-3 PUFA in populations have been associated with increased risks of depression and Alzheimer disease, and n-3 PUFA, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), have shown efficacy as adjunctive treatment -and in some cases as the only treatment -in several psychiatric disorders. The mechanisms by which polyunsaturated fatty acids have an impact on neuronal functions will be reviewed: the modulation of membrane biophysical properties, regulation of neurotransmitter release, synthesis of biologically active oxygenated derivatives, and nuclear receptor-mediated transcription of genes responsive to fatty acids or to their derivatives. docosahexaenoic acid / arachidonic acid / retina / brain / milk feeding / eicosanoids / synaptic terminals / phototransduction / neuroprotection / nuclear receptors / neuropsychiatric diseases / neurodegenerative diseases
doi:10.1051/rnd:2004063 fatcat:x32xlka66jhefczhgddqmwxmme