Beneficial effects of gamma linolenic acid supplementation on nerve conduction velocity, Na+, K+ ATPase activity, and membrane fatty acid composition in sciatic nerve of diabetic rats.
ABSTRACT Metabolic and vascular abnormalities are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy. Two principal metabolic defects are altered lipid metabolism resulting from the impairment of delta-6-desaturase, which converts linoleic acid (LA) into gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and reduced nerve Na+, K+ ATPase activity. This reduction may be caused by a lack of incorporation of (n-6) fatty acids in membrane phospholipids. Because this ubiquitous enzyme maintains the membrane electrical potential and allows repolarization, disturbances in its activity can alter the process of nerve conduction velocity (NCV). We studied the effects of supplementation with GLA (260 mg per day) on NCV, fatty acid phospholipid composition, and Na+, K+ ATPase activity in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Six groups of 10 rats were studied. Two groups served as controls supplemented with GLA or sunflower oil (GLA free). Two groups with different durations of diabetes were studied: 6 weeks with no supplementation and 12 weeks supplemented with sunflower oil. To test the ability of GLA to prevent or reverse the effects of diabetes, two groups of diabetic rats were supplemented with GLA, one group for 12 weeks and one group for 6 weeks, starting 6 weeks after diabetes induction. Diabetes resulted in a 25% decrease in NCV (P < 0.0001), a 45% decrease in Na+, K+ ATPase activity (P < 0.0001), and an abnormal phospholipid fatty acid composition. GLA restored NCV both in the prevention and reversal studies and partially restored Na+, K+ ATPase activity in the preventive treatment group (P < 0.0001). These effects were accompanied by a modification of phospholipid fatty acid composition in nerve membranes. Overall, the results suggest that membrane fatty acid composition plays a direct role in NCV and confirm the beneficial effect of GLA supplementation in diabetic neuropathy.
Article: Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids predict accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function in older persons.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Pre-clinical studies suggest that both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on peripheral nerve function. Rats feed a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) showed modification of phospholipid fatty acid composition in nerve membranes and improvement of sciatic nerve conduction velocity (NCV). We tested the hypothesis that baseline plasma omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids levels predict accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function. Changes between baseline and the 3-year follow-up in peripheral nerve function was assessed by standard surface ENG of the right peroneal nerve in 384 male and 443 female participants of the InCHIANTI study (age range: 24-97 years). Plasma concentrations of selected fatty acids assessed at baseline by gas chromatography. Independent of confounders, plasma omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid were significantly correlated with peroneal NCV at enrollment. Lower plasma PUFA, omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, ratio omega-6/omega-3, arachidonic acid and docosahexanoic acid levels were significantly predicted a steeper decline in nerve function parameters over the 3-year follow-up. Low plasma omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids levels were associated with accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function with aging.European Journal of Neurology 08/2007; 14(7):801-8. · 3.69 Impact Factor