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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2017 Mar;84:40-45. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2016.12.015. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

Fats for thoughts: An update on brain fatty acid metabolism.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "V. Erspamer", Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: adele.romano@uniroma1.it.
2
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "V. Erspamer", Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: justynabarbara.koczwara@uniroma1.it.
3
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "V. Erspamer", Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: cristinaanna.gallelli@uniroma1.it.
4
Laboratory of Clinical Proteomic, "Giovanni Paolo II" Hospital, ASL-Lecce, Piazzetta F. Muratore, 73100 Lecce, Italy. Electronic address: danielevergara@libero.it.
5
School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology Unit, University of Camerino, Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 19f, 62032 Camerino, Italy. Electronic address: mariavittoria.micioni@unicam.it.
6
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "V. Erspamer", Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: silvana.gaetani@uniroma1.it.
7
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, via Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy. Electronic address: anna.giudetti@unisalento.it.

Abstract

Brain fatty acid (FA) metabolism deserves a close attention not only for its energetic aspects but also because FAs and their metabolites/derivatives are able to influence many neural functions, contributing to brain pathologies or representing potential targets for pharmacological and/or nutritional interventions. Glucose is the preferred energy substrate for the brain, whereas the role of FAs is more marginal. In conditions of decreased glucose supply, ketone bodies, mainly formed by FA oxidation, are the alternative main energy source. Ketogenic diets or medium-chain fatty acid supplementations were shown to produce therapeutic effects in several brain pathologies. Moreover, the positive effects exerted on brain functions by short-chain FAs and the consideration that they can be produced by intestinal flora metabolism contributed to the better understanding of the link between "gut-health" and "brain-health". Finally, attention was paid also to the regulatory role of essential polyunsaturated FAs and their derivatives on brain homeostasis.

KEYWORDS:

Ketone bodies; Medium-chain fatty acids; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Short-chain fatty acids

PMID:
28065757
DOI:
10.1016/j.biocel.2016.12.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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