Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 45, Number 5, September-October 2005
Page(s) 529 - 533
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 45 (2005) 529-533
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2005043

Multiple facets of membrane lipids and the diversity of their action mode with special emphasis on the central nervous system

Jean-Marc Alessandri and Philippe Guesnet

INRA, Nutrition and Food Safety, Neurobiology of Lipids, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France

Abstract - This issue of Reproduction Nutrition Development was scheduled along with 8 papers on the metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and their physiological roles within the central nervous system. Topics focused on PUFAs from the n-3 series, especially on docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is particularly abundant in the cell membranes of brain and retina. Reviews and original articles emphasize the impact of n-3 PUFAs on the physical properties of membranes, the neuroprotective mechanisms via Ca2+ signalling in astrocytes, the n-3 status of infants suffering of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the mental development of neonates in relation with maternal feeding. The DHA metabolism in humans and its endogenous production from alpha-linolenic acid is reviewed. Besides, it is described and discussed how the generation of PUFA-derived mediators is modulated by the retinoic acid-receptor signalling via activation of cognate phospholipase activities. The sensitivity and recovering of neurons to oxidative stress is also addressed in this volume, through the description of a model of iron-induced injury in the rat brain. The diversity of these 8 articles illustrates the multiple roles of PUFAs within the central nervous system.

Key words: arachidonic acid / astrocytes and calcium signalling / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder / central nervous sytem / docosahexaenoic acid / endogenous conversion / membrane physical properties / milk and infant mental development / omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids / oxidative stress / phospholipases / raft / retinoic acid

Corresponding author: Jean-Marc Alessandri

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005