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Prog Lipid Res. 2014 Jan;53:1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2013.10.002. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) from genesis to senescence: the influence of LCPUFA on neural development, aging, and neurodegeneration.

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Department of Anatomy, Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of Anatomy, Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:


Many clinical and animal studies demonstrate the importance of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) in neural development and neurodegeneration. This review will focus on involvement of LCPUFA from genesis to senescence. The LCPUFA docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid are important components of neuronal membranes, while eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and arachidonic acid also affect cardiovascular health and inflammation. In neural development, LCPUFA deficiency can lead to severe disorders like schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Perinatal LCPUFA supplementation demonstrated beneficial effects in neural development in humans and rodents resulting in improved cognition and sensorimotor integration. In normal aging, the effect of LCPUFA on prevention of cognitive impairment will be discussed. LCPUFA are important for neuronal membrane integrity and function, and also contribute in prevention of brain hypoperfusion. Cerebral perfusion can be compromised as result of obesity, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, or diabetes mellitus type 2. Last, we will focus on the role of LCPUFA in most common neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. These disorders are characterized by impaired cognition and connectivity and both clinical and animal supplementation studies have shown the potential of LCPUFA to decrease neurodegeneration and inflammation. This review shows that LCPUFA are essential throughout life.


1,2 diacylglycerol choline phosphotransferase; 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine; 5-LOX; 5-lipoxygenase; AD; ADAS-cog; ADHD; ADP; ALA; AMI; ARA; ATP; Alzheimer’s disease; Animal studies; Aβ; B12; B6; BBB; BDNF; BSID; Bayley Scales of Infant Development; CDP-choline; CDR; CIBIC-plus; CK; COX; CPT; CREB; CT; CTP; Clinical studies; DAG; DBS; DHA; DMII; EPA; FADS; GDNF; GLA; I-DOPA; I-dihydroxyphenylalanine; IQ; LA; LCPUFA; LDL; LT; Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; MCI; MDI; MMSE; MPTP; MetS; NPD1; NPI; Neural development; Neurodegeneration; PC; PD; PDI; PE; PG; PPAR; PS; Parkinson’s disease; RAR; RBANS; RXR; SFA; SNpc; TX; Trk B; UTP; VEP; VLDL; acute myocardial infarction; adenosine diphosphate; adenosine triphosphate; arachidonic acid; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; blood brain barrier; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; cAMP; cAMP response element binding protein; choline kinase; clinical dementia rating; clinician’s interview-based impression of change scale which included caregiver-supplied information; cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale; cyclic adenosine monophosphate; cyclooxygenase; cytidine diphosphate choline; cytidine triphosphate; cytidine triphosphate-phosphocholine cytidyl transferase; deep brain stimulation; diabetes mellitus type 2; diacylglycerol; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; fatty acid desaturase; glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor; intelligence quotient; leukotrienes; linoleic acid; long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; low density lipoprotein; mental development index; metabolic syndrome; mild cognitive impairment; mini-mental state examination; n-3 PUFA; n-6 PUFA; neuroprotectin D1; neuropsychiatric inventory; omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids; p.p.; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor; phosphatidylcholine; phosphatidylethanolamine; phosphatidylserine; post partum; prostaglandins; psychomotor development index; randomized double blind placebo controlled; rdbpc; repeatable battery for the assessment of neuropsychological status; retinoic acid receptor; retinoid X receptor; saturated fatty acids; substantia nigra pars compacta; thromboxanes; tyrosine kinase B; uridine triphosphate; very low density lipoprotein; visual evoked potential; vitamin B12; vitamin B6; α-linolenic acid; β-amyloid; γ linolenic acid

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