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Omega-3 fatty acids and neuropsychiatric disorders. Reprod Nutr. Dev. 45:1-28

Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Reproduction Nutrition Development (Impact Factor: 2.17). 01/2005; 45(1):1-28.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Epidemiological evidence suggests that dietary consumption of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), commonly found in fish or fish oil, may modify the risk for certain neuropsychiatric disorders. As evidence, decreased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with several neuropsychiatric conditions, including Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, Alzheimer's Disease, Schizophrenia and Depression. Supplementation studies, using individual or combination omega-3 fatty acids, suggest the possibility for decreased symptoms associated with some of these conditions. Thus far, however, the benefits of supplementation, in terms of decreasing disease risk and/or aiding in symptom management, are not clear and more research is needed. The reasons for blood fatty acid alterations in these disorders are not known, nor are the potential mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids may function in normal neuronal activity and neuropsychiatric disease prevention and/or treatment. It is clear, however, that DHA is the predominant n-3 fatty acid found in the brain and that EPA plays an important role as an anti-inflammatory precursor. Both DHA and EPA can be linked with many aspects of neural function, including neurotransmission, membrane fluidity, ion channel and enzyme regulation and gene expression. This review summarizes the knowledge in terms of dietary omega-3 fatty acid intake and metabolism, as well as evidence pointing to potential mechanisms of omega-3 fatty acids in normal brain functioning, development of neuropsychiatric disorders and efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in terms of symptom management.

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    • "Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), mainly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3), are particularly enriched in cell membrane phospholipids, especially in neural tissues [18] [19]. Several studies have shown that these fatty acids are important for the proper development and physiology of neuronal cells and their deficiency has been associated with AD [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]. Also, LCPUFAs such as DHA have the capacity to influence plasma membrane organization and activity by modulating the lipid composition and functionality of lipid raft domains [26–28,30,31]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The presence of lipid alterations in lipid rafts from the frontal cortex in late stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been recently demonstrated. Here, we have isolated and analyzed the lipid composition of lipid rafts from different brain areas from control and AD subjects at initial neuropathologic stages. We have observed that frontal cortex lipid rafts are profoundly altered in AD brains from the earliest stages of AD, namely AD I/II. These changes in the lipid matrix of lipid rafts affected both lipid classes and fatty acids and were also detected in the entorhinal cortex, but not in the cerebellum from the same subjects. Paralleling these changes, lipid rafts from AD frontal and entorhinal cortices displayed higher anisotropy for environment-sensitive probes, indicating that lipid changes in AD lipid rafts increased membrane order and viscosity in these domains. The pathophysiological consequences of these alterations in the development and progression of AD were strengthened by the significant, and specific, accumulation of β-secretase within the lipid rafts of AD subjects even at the earliest stages. Our results provide a mechanistic connection between lipid alterations in these microdomains and amyloidogenic processing of amyloid precursor protein.
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    • "Other areas where EPA and DHA have been claimed to have an influence are neuropsychiatric disorders. Results from several epidemiologic studies [103, 104] suggest that dietary consumption of n-3 HPUFAs affects neuropsychiatric disorders, presumably because of their structural and neurochemical involvement in pathophysiological processes [105–107]. Interventions ranging from 1 to 6.2 g/d EPA and from 0 to 3.4 g/d of DHA were associated with a therapeutic effect in a broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders [108–111]. Children supplemented with n-3 HPUFA PLs and FO showed an increase in EPA, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and DHA concentrations and a decrease in ARA and adrenic acid concentrations in plasma PLs but not in TAGs and cholesterol ester fractions [112], as observed in previous studies [113]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Dietary fatty acids regulate several physiological functions. However, to exert their properties, they have to be present in the diet in an optimal balance. Particular attention has been focused on tissue highly polyunsaturated fatty acids (HPUFAs) n-6/n-3 ratio, influenced by the type and the esterified form of dietary fatty acids. Dietary EPA and DHA when esterified to phospholipids (PLs) are more efficiently incorporated into tissue PLs and seem to possess peculiar properties through specific mechanism(s) of action, such as the capacity to affect endocannabinoid biosynthesis at much lower doses than EPA and DHA in triglyceride form, probably because of the above mentioned higher incorporation into tissue PLs. Downregulation of the endocannabinoid system seems to mediate the positive effects exerted by omega-3-enriched PLs on several parameters of metabolic syndrome. PLs are one of the major dietary forms of EPA and DHA we are exposed to with the everyday diet; therefore, it is not surprising that it guarantees an effective EPA and DHA nutritional activity. Future studies should address whether EPA and DHA in PL form are also more effective than other formulations in ameliorating other pathological conditions where n-3 HPUFAs seem to exert beneficial activities such as cancer and psychiatric disorders.
    07/2013; 2013:965417. DOI:10.1155/2013/965417
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    • "Epidemiological studies suggest that dietary DHA, which is commonly found in fish (Kalmijn, Launer et al. 1997), may modify the risk for certain neurodegenerative disorders (Hibbeln and Salem 1995). As evidence, decreased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with several neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and depression (Fenton, Hibbeln et al. 2000; Young and Conquer 2005). Communities with regular consumption of fish have shown to possess reduced prevalence of neurodegenerative disease and cognitive decline in general (Fenton, Hibbeln et al. 2000; He, Song et al. 2004; van Gelder, Tijhuis et al. 2007). "
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