2006, Number 3
Rev Educ Bioquimica 2006; 25 (3)
Coronado HM, Vega LS, Gutiérrez TR, García FB, Díaz GG
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ABSTRACTOmega-3 fatty acids: α-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and omega-6 fatty acids: linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, are part of the triacylglycerols that are consumed in the diet. However, if EPA and DHA are not ingested, they can be synthesized throughout well known biochemical reactions. Omega-3 and omega-6 acids are part of cellular membranes, and therefore they regulate their permeability. DHA contributes to the synaptic function, its low content in neuronal membranes induces a reduction in nervous impulses transmission. Using animal models it has been established that the lack of omega-3 acids is associated to several inflammation processes and to precarious neuronal development in human patients with depression. Beneficial effects of omega-3 have also been recognized in relation to cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and ischemia. Since these lipid components have lately become very important, this work is a review about structural and biochemical aspects of omega acids regulation, and their significance in health.