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Waurn Ponds, Australia

De Mel D.,NeuroAllergy Research Laboratory NARL | Suphioglu C.,NeuroAllergy Research Laboratory NARL
Nutrients | Year: 2014

Omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids are one of the two main families of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The main omega-3 fatty acids in the mammalian body are α-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Central nervous tissues of vertebrates are characterized by a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, in the human brain, DHA is considered as the main structural omega-3 fatty acid, which comprises about 40% of the PUFAs in total. DHA deficiency may be the cause of many disorders such as depression, inability to concentrate, excessive mood swings, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dry skin and so on. On the other hand, zinc is the most abundant trace metal in the human brain. There are many scientific studies linking zinc, especially excess amounts of free zinc, to cellular death. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, are characterized by altered zinc metabolism. Both animal model studies and human cell culture studies have shown a possible link between omega-3 fatty acids, zinc transporter levels and free zinc availability at cellular levels. Many other studies have also suggested a possible omega-3 and zinc effect on neurodegeneration and cellular death. Therefore, in this review, we will examine the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on zinc transporters and the importance of free zinc for human neuronal cells. Moreover, we will evaluate the collective understanding of mechanism(s) for the interaction of these elements in neuronal research and their significance for the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegeneration. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

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