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J Neurochem. 2015 Dec;135(5):845-8. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13289. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

Blood-brain barrier and brain fatty acid uptake: Role of arachidonic acid and PGE2.

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Department of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA.


How do fatty acids enter the brain and what role, if any, do membrane and cytosolic fatty acid binding proteins have on facilitating this process? This is a fundamental question that many lipid neurochemists will freely admit they cannot answer in any kind of definitive manner. A study by Dalvi and colleagues in this issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry now adds to our knowledge in this field. Among other important observations, their experiments demonstrate that a physiological level of arachidonic acid (ARA), that could be associated with many different physiological and pathophysiological states, increases permeability in a model of the human blood brain barrier (BBB) in the absence of cytokines. This last point is very important as it suggests increases in BBB permeability may occur in situations other than those associated with increases in tumor necrosis factor a (TNFα) and interleukin1b (IL1β), giving additional options for developing drugs impacting BBB permeability.

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