Good-for-You Fats

Science's STKE  25 Apr 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 29, pp. tw2
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.29.tw2

Evidence is growing for a role for polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in decreasing neuronal and cardiac excitability. This decrease may be a mechanism by which these molecules exert their beneficial effects in terms of cardiac disease and a variety of brain disorders. Lauritzen et al. found that PUFAs prevented hippocampal cell death in vivo due to ischemia or excessive glutamate receptor activation. In vitro data were consistent with PUFAs' activating K+ channels. On the basis of immunocytochemical and electrophysiological analysis, the authors suggest that the TRAAK and TREK-1 K+ channels are responsible for mediating the effects of PUFAs.

Lauritzen, I., Blondeau, N., Heurteaux, C., Widmann, C., Romey, G., and Lazdunski, M. (2000) Polyunsaturated fatty acids are potent neuroprotectors. EMBO J. 19: 1784-1793. [Abstract] [Full Text]