Arachidonic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid-derived Lipid Mediators in Brain
Pp. 1-9 (9)
Akhlaq A. Farooqui
Docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid are major polyunsaturated fatty acids in neural membrane
glycerophospholipids. Docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid are metabolically and functionally distinct
molecules that have opposing physiological functions. Docosahexaenoic acid is metabolized to docosanoids,
whereas arachidonic acid is metabolized to eicosanoids. Like their precursors, docosanoids and eicosanoids are
different types of lipid mediators, which play important and opposing roles in modulating inflammatory reactions,
oxidative stress, neuroprotection, and neurodegeneration. Increase in levels of eicosanoids occurs in acute neural
trauma (stroke and traumatic injury to brain and spinal cord) and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer disease,
Parkinson disease, and Huntington disease), whereas consumption of DHA increases levels of docosanoids,
which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic properties. Synthesis of docosanoids is an
endogenous neuroprotective mechanism against acute neural trauma and neurodegenerative diseases.
Arachidonic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosanoids; docosanoids; eicosapentaenoic acid; oxidative
stress; inflammation; apoptosis; neurodegenerative diseases
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.