Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Alzheimer’s type dementia (AD) are leading causes of death amongst aged
people, with rates expected to rise due to increased longevity.
Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute to the development and maintenance of the functional capacities of the
brain and reduced levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may be indicative of an increased risk of AD. Moreover, epidemiological
studies have shown a strong correlation between fish consumption and reduction in sudden death because of
myocardial infarction. Not only does fish oil decrease thrombosis, but it also prevents cardiac arrhythmias.
The molecular mechanism underlying the many benefits of n-3 fatty acids remains a significant challenge for medicine.
Human recombinant cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 converts DHA to hydroxy-DHA and novel oxygenated products (resolvins,
neuroprotectins, maresins) generated by enzymatic processes have recently been identified. With low-dose aspirin (ASA)
- which acetylates COX-2 - more stable epimeric ASA-triggered oxygenated forms are synthesized. In conclusion, both
DHA and acetylCOX-2 seem to cooperate - in synergy that goes well beyond our current understanding - in the prevention
of many diseases that involve inflammation, including CVD and AD. Often the analogy is the key for new advances.