Regulation of gene expression in brain and liver by marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

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Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can affect gene expression through changes in membrane composition and signalling, eicosanoid production, oxidant stress, nuclear receptor activation or covalent modification of specific transcription factors. This paper considers the effects of marine n-3 PUFA on expression of genes involved in various pathways and in brain and liver. Increasing the n-3 PUFA content of the diet of rats induces changes in the expression of more than 100 genes in the brain, involved in synaptic plasticity, cytoskeleton, signal transduction, ion channel formation, energy metabolism and regulatory proteins. Further work has revealed an interaction between zinc and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in brain (in vivo & in vitro). In the liver, studies suggest that marine n-3 PUFA are involved in the suppression of glycolytic and lipogenic genes, and as activators of fatty acid oxidation at the level of gene expression to control mitochondrial and peroxisomal lipid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
JournalProgress in Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Gene expression
  • N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)

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