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Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Jan 12;11:8. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-11-8.

Effect of acute administration of Pistacia lentiscus L. essential oil on rat cerebral cortex following transient bilateral common carotid artery occlusion.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, Monserrato, Italy.



Ischemia/reperfusion leads to inflammation and oxidative stress which damages membrane highly polyunsaturated fatty acids (HPUFAs) and eventually induces neuronal death. This study evaluates the effect of the administration of Pistacia lentiscus L. essential oil (E.O.), a mixture of terpenes and sesquiterpenes, on modifications of fatty acid profile and endocannabinoid (eCB) congener concentrations induced by transient bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO) in the rat frontal cortex and plasma.


Adult Wistar rats underwent BCCAO for 20 min followed by 30 min reperfusion (BCCAO/R). 6 hours before surgery, rats, randomly assigned to four groups, were gavaged either with E.O. (200 mg/0.45 ml of sunflower oil as vehicle) or with the vehicle alone.


BCCAO/R triggered in frontal cortex a decrease of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the membrane highly polyunsaturated fatty acid most susceptible to oxidation. Pre-treatment with E.O. prevented this change and led further to decreased levels of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), as assessed by Western Blot. In plasma, only after BCCAO/R, E.O. administration increased both the ratio of DHA-to-its precursor, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and levels of palmytoylethanolamide (PEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA).


Acute treatment with E.O. before BCCAO/R elicits changes both in the frontal cortex, where the BCCAO/R-induced decrease of DHA is apparently prevented and COX-2 expression decreases, and in plasma, where PEA and OEA levels and DHA biosynthesis increase. It is suggested that the increase of PEA and OEA plasma levels may induce DHA biosynthesis via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha activation, protecting brain tissue from ischemia/reperfusion injury.

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