Omega-3s Help Heal Nerves

High omega-3 levels help mouse neurons heal better after injury.

Sabrina Richards
Jan 18, 2012

FLICKR, MIKEBLOGS

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, may have applications in preventing and healing from nerve injury, according to a new study in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers at Queen Mary University in London found that neurons from mice with high levels of endogenous omega-3 fatty acids were protected against stretching or oxygen starvation-induced injury.

Scientists compared the neurons of mice expressing fat-1, a fatty acid desaturase derived from the nematode C. elegans that converts omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s, to those of wildtype mice. Both groups of animals were fed an omega-6-rich diet, which resulted in high circulating omega-3 levels in fat-1 mice. When the researchers subjected the mice’s neurons to either hypoxia or stretching, they found that cells from fat-1 mice showed less injury than wildtype cells rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Similarly, fat-1 mice subjected to sciatic nerve injury recovered...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?