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Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jun 1;16:2653-70.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain: metabolism and neuroprotection.

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State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Anesthesiology Department of Huanshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are a group of essential fatty acids that serve as energy substrates and integral membrane components, and therefore play crucial roles in the maintenance of normal neurological function. Recent studies show that n-3 PUFAs display neuroprotective properties and exert beneficial effects on the cognitive function with aging. The brain's need of n-3 PUFAs is predominantly met by the blood delivery due to their limited synthesis in the brain. The present review focuses on the metabolism of n-3 PUFAs in the brain, including their accumulation and turnover. We also highlight the current understanding of the neuroprotective effects of n-3 PUFAs against cerebral ischemia and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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