Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are highly enriched in the nervous system. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA2; 22:6n-3), in particular, is the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in the brain and is concentrated in aminophospholipids of cell membranes.

Numerous studies have indicated that this concentration of DHA in the nervous system is essential for optimal neuronal and retinal functions (1). Although the underlying mechanisms of its essential function are still not clearly understood, emerging evidence suggests that unique metabolism of DHA in relation to its incorporation into neuronal membrane phospholipids plays an important role.

In this review, biochemical mechanisms for enriching and metabolizing DHA in neural cells are discussed in the context of their biological significance in neuronal function.

PMID: 17488715

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