Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 77 (1), 11-22 (1998)

Pathophysiological Effects of Dietary Essential Fatty Acid Balance on Neural Systems

Satoshi Yoshida (1), Akira Sato (2) and Harumi Okuyama(2,*)

(1) Research Laboratory Center, Oita Medical University, Hasama-cho, Oita 879-5593, Japan
(2) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nagoya City University, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya 467-8603, Japan
(*) To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Abstract: Dietary fatty acid balance has been revealed to affect neural functions as well as chronic diseases such as cancer, cerebro- and cardiovascular diseases, and allergic hyper-reactivity. In this review, we focused on the pathophysiological effects of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids on brain functions. Long-term n-3 fatty acid deficiency in the presence of n-6 fatty acids has been shown to affect learning behavior, drug sensitivity and retinal functions. Some membrane enzymes and ion channel functions have been shown in experimental animals to be regulated by membrane fatty acid modifications. We also summarized the effects of these fatty acids in diets on human psychotic aspects and brain diseases. Although biochemical mechanisms remain to be elucidated, investigations on the effect of dietary fatty acids on neural networks may provide an important clue to clarify complex brain functions.

Keywords: Arachidonic acid, Docosahexaenoic acid, Learning behavior, Memory, Psychosis

Copyrightę The Japanese Pharmacological Society 1998

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