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Neural Function Following Dietary n-3 Fatty Acid Depletion

  • Andrew J. Sinclair
  • Harrison S. Weisinger
  • Algis J. Vingrys
Chapter

Abstract

It has been known for many years that mammalian brains are rich in lipid. In the early 1960s, shortly after the development of gas-liquid chromatography, it was reported that the human brain gray matter phospholipids contained a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (O’Brien and Sampson, 1965). Within a decade, it had been shown that the types and proportions of PUFA in the gray matter of 25 different mammalian species were very similar (Crawford and Sinclair, 1972; Sinclair, 1975; Crawford et al., 1976). In these studies, it was revealed that in all species the gray matter was rich in lipid (approx 40%) and that this was largely structural lipid (phospholipids and cholesterol). In all cases, six main fatty acids comprised the brain gray matter phospholipids, with three being PUFA, namely arachidonic acid ([AA] or 20:4 [n-6]), docosatetraenoic acid (22:4 [n-6]), and docosahexaenoic acid ([DHA] or 22: 6 [n-3]). These PUFA were present in a characteristic pattern in each species with AA, 22:4 (n-6), and DHA accounting for 12.0, 6.3, and 22.0% of phospholipid fatty acids, respectively (mean value for 25 species). Subsequent analyses of retinal fatty acids, from a smaller number of mammals, has shown that the retinal phospholipid fatty acids are also rich in PUFA, with DHA being the predominant fatty acid (Fliesler and Anderson, 1982). In contrast to the brain and retina, there is a diverse pattern of PUFA in the phospholipids of other tissues, such as liver and muscle, probably reflecting the wide differences in intake of essential fatty acids between species (Crawford et al., 1976).

Keywords

Essential Fatty Acid Phospholipid Fatty Acid Neural Function Docosatetraenoic Acid PUFA Deficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew J. Sinclair
  • Harrison S. Weisinger
  • Algis J. Vingrys

There are no affiliations available

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