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Current Organic Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1385-2728
ISSN (Online): 1875-5348

Docosahexaenoic Acid and Membrane Lipid Domains

Author(s): William Stillwell

Volume 4, Issue 11, 2000

Page: [1169 - 1183] Pages: 15

DOI: 10.2174/1385272003375860

Price: $65


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6Δ4,7,10,13,16,19) is the longest chain and most unsaturated fatty acid commonly found in biological systems [1]. It represents the extreme example of the important class of fatty acids known as omega-3s. Primarily through dietary studies, this fatty acid has been linked to an enormous variety of human afflictions including cancer [2, 3], heart disease [4], rheumatoid arthritis [5], lupus [6], alcoholism [7], blindness [8], respiratory diseases [9], peroxisomal disorders [10], cystic fibrosis [11], schizophrenia [12], depression [13], malaria [14], multiple sclerosis [15] and even migrane headaches. In order for one simple molecule to affect so many seemingly unrelated processes it must function at a fundamental level, common to most cells. It has been suggested that this level is in controlling membrane structure and function [16]. Due to its extreme chain length and unsaturation it should be easier to demonstrate a unique role for DHA in membrane structure/function than it will be for other shorter, less unsaturated fatty acids commonly found in membranes. Reviewed here is the possible involvement of DHA in membrane lipid domains.

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