Volume 14, Number 3-4, Mai-Août 2007
|Page(s)||194 - 197|
|Section||PUFAs and aging disorders|
|Published online||15 May 2007|
The implication of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in retinal physiology
Equipe de Recherche Œil et Nutrition, UMR1129 FLAVIC, INRA - ENESAD - Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France
Neuronal tissues such as the retina and the brain are characterized by their high content in phospholipids. In the retina, phospholipids can account for until 80% of total lipids and are mainly composed by species belonging to phosphatidyl-choline and phosphatidyl-ethanolamine sub-classes. Within fatty acids esterified on retinal phospholipids, omega-3 PUFAs are major components since docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can represent until 50% of total fatty acids in the photoreceptor outer segments.
For long time, DHA is known to play a major role in membrane function and subsequently in visual processes by affecting permeability, fluidity, thickness and the activation of membrane-bound proteins. Today, more and more studies show that PUFAs from the omega-3 series may also operate as protective factors in retinal vascular and immuno-regulatory processes, in maintaining the physiologic redox balance and in cell survival. They may operate within complex systems involving eicosanoids, angiogenic factors, inflammatory factors and matrix metalloproteinases.
This new and emerging concept based on the interrelationship of omega-3 PUFAs with neural and vascular structure and function appears to be essential when considering retinal diseases of public health significance such as age-related macular degeneration.
Key words: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids / retina / oxidative stress / inflammation / vasculogenesis
© John Libbey Eurotext 2007
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