NeuroMolecular Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 328–342 | Cite as

Effects of Low Phytanic Acid-Concentrated DHA on Activated Microglial Cells: Comparison with a Standard Phytanic Acid-Concentrated DHA

  • María Belén Ruiz-Roso
  • Elena Olivares-Álvaro
  • José Carlos Quintela
  • Sandra Ballesteros
  • Juan F. Espinosa-Parrilla
  • Baltasar Ruiz-Roso
  • Vicente Lahera
  • Natalia de las Heras
  • Beatriz Martín-FernándezEmail author
Original Paper


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 n-3) is an essential omega-3 (ω-3) long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid of neuronal membranes involved in normal growth, development, and function. DHA has been proposed to reduce deleterious effects in neurodegenerative processes. Even though, some inconsistencies in findings from clinical and pre-clinical studies with DHA could be attributed to the presence of phytanic acid (PhA) in standard DHA treatments. Thus, the aim of our study was to analyze and compare the effects of a low PhA-concentrated DHA with a standard PhA-concentrated DHA under different neurotoxic conditions in BV-2 activated microglial cells. To this end, mouse microglial BV-2 cells were stimulated with either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and co-incubated with DHA 50 ppm of PhA (DHA (PhA:50)) or DHA 500 ppm of PhA (DHA (PhA:500)). Cell viability, superoxide anion (O2) production, Interleukin 6 (L-6), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), glutathione peroxidase (GtPx), glutathione reductase (GtRd), Caspase-3, and the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein expression were explored. Low PhA-concentrated DHA protected against LPS or H2O2-induced cell viability reduction in BV-2 activated cells and O2 production reduction compared to DHA (PhA:500). Low PhA-concentrated DHA also decreased COX-2, IL-6, iNOS, GtPx, GtRd, and SOD-1 protein expression when compared to DHA (PhA:500). Furthermore, low PhA-concentrated DHA increased BDNF protein expression in comparison to DHA (PhA:500). The study provides data supporting the beneficial effect of low PhA-concentrated DHA in neurotoxic injury when compared to a standard PhA-concentrated DHA in activated microglia.


DHA Phytanic acid Microglia Oxidation BDNF 



This work was supported by grants from “Programa Estatal de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad, Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013–2016” (RTC-2014-1689-1).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12017_2018_8496_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (2.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 2227 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Belén Ruiz-Roso
    • 1
  • Elena Olivares-Álvaro
    • 1
  • José Carlos Quintela
    • 2
  • Sandra Ballesteros
    • 1
  • Juan F. Espinosa-Parrilla
    • 3
  • Baltasar Ruiz-Roso
    • 4
  • Vicente Lahera
    • 1
  • Natalia de las Heras
    • 1
  • Beatriz Martín-Fernández
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineComplutense UniversityMadridSpain
  2. 2.Natac Pharma S.L.AlcorcónSpain
  3. 3.Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca, Hospital Universitari Vall d’HebronBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Nutrition and Bromatology I (Nutrition), Faculty of PharmacyComplutense UniversityMadridSpain
  5. 5.Natac Biotech S.L.AlcorcónSpain

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