Dietary long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids belong to omega (ω)-3, -6 or -9 series.
Both experimental and clinical studies demonstrated the beneficial effect of ω -3 fatty acids of fish
oil, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) against human ailments including
cardiovascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. They are metabolized in cyclooxygenase and
lipooxygenase pathways and also by cytochrome P450 isozymes. Biological importance of DHA in
the development of brain and retina are well established. Recent studies highlighted the beneficial
effect of ω-3 fatty acids in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) which may be attributed to their antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic and neurotrophic properties. The effect was obtained by the consumption
of either individual or combination of ω -3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory effect can
be ascribed to the decreased cytokines and monocytic chemotactic protein-1 level by suppressing
the nuclear factor-kappa B. Further, they inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide synthase-2 activities.
The antiapoptotic activity is due to the lowered Bax/Bcl ratio or caspase 3 levels. They can
induce the transcription factor, nuclear erythroid factor-2 mediated expression of superoxide dismutase-
2 in order to facilitate the antioxidant effect. Both DHA and EPA can enhance the nerve
growth factor level. Overall, they are beneficial to improve the cognitive function in very mild AD
and major depressive disorder. Despite the beneficial effects, ω-3 fatty acids are easily prone to
peroxidation. This review article discusses the recent update on the roles of ω -3 fatty acids in AD.
Keywords: Docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, polyunsaturated fatty acids,
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