Research Reports - Omega-3 fatty acids and traumatic neurological injury

Trends Neurosci. 2013 Nov 21. pii: S0166-2236(13)00198-7

Michael-Titus AT, Priestley JV

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are compounds that have a structural
role in the nervous system and are essential for neurodevelopment. Results
obtained with docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid show therapeutic
potential in neurotrauma. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury
(SCI) can lead to major disability and have a significant socioeconomic cost.
Thus, there is an unmet need for acute neuroprotection and for treatments that
promote neuroregeneration. Acute administration of omega-3 PUFAs after injury and
dietary exposure before or after injury improve neurological outcomes in
experimental SCI and TBI. The mechanisms involved include decreased
neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, neurotrophic support, and activation of
cell survival pathways. This review raises questions that must be addressed
before successful clinical translation.

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