Biochimie. 2020 Jan 31. Epub 2020 Jan 31. PMID: 32014503
Brain targeting with docosahexaenoic acid as a prospective therapy for neurodegenerative diseases and its passage across blood brain barrier.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) is the main omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid in brain tissues necessary for common brain growth and function. DHA can be provided to the body through two origins: an exogenous origin, from direct dietary intakes and an endogenous one, from the bioconversion of the essentialα-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3) in the liver. In humans, the biosynthesis of DHA from its precursor ALA is very low. A reduction in the cerebral amount of DHA is detected in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Considering the vital functions of DHA for the brain, new methodologies to target the brain with DHA offers encouraging perceptions in the improvement of precautionary and therapeutic approaches for neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of the present review was to provide better understanding of the cerebral uptake of DHA in different form including free fatty acids, Lysophosphatidylcholines LysoPC-DHA as well as structured phospholipids. First, we explored the special structure of the blood-brain barrier BBB, BBB being a physical and metabolic barrier with restrictive properties. Then, we discussed the incorporation of DHA into the membrane phospholipids of the brain, the neuroprotective and therapeutic effect of DHA for neurological diseases.