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Nutr Neurosci. 2006 Feb-Apr;9(1-2):1-10.

Relationship between fatty acids and the endocrine and neuroendocrine system.

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Phytonutrients Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD, 20705-2350, USA.


Significant interactions exist between fatty acids and the endocrine system. Dietary fatty acids alter both hormone and neuropeptide concentrations and also their receptors. In addition, hormones affect the metabolism of fatty acids and the fatty acid composition of tissue lipids. The principal hormones involved in lipid metabolism are insulin, glucagon, catecholamines, cortisol and growth hormone. The concentrations of these hormones are altered in chronic degenerative conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which in turn leads to alterations in tissue lipids. Lipogenesis and lipolysis, which modulate fatty acid concentrations in plasma and tissues, are under hormonal control. Neuropeptides are also involved in lipid metabolism in brain and other tissues. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also precursors for eicosanoids including prostaglandins, leucotrienes, and thromboxanes, which have hormone-like activities. Fatty acids in turn affect the endocrine system. Saturated and trans fatty acids decrease insulin concentration leading to insulin resistance. In contrast, polyunsaturated fatty acids increase plasma insulin concentration and decrease insulin resistance. In humans, omega3 polyunsaturated fatty acids alter the levels of opioid peptides in plasma. Free fatty acids have been reported to inhibit glucagon release. Fatty acids also affect receptors for hormones and neuropeptides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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