Differential vulnerability of substantia nigra and corpus striatum to oxidative insult induced by reduced dietary levels of essential fatty acids

January 1, 2012 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Differential vulnerability of substantia nigra and corpus striatum to oxidative insult induced by reduced dietary levels of essential fatty acids

Year: 2012
Authors: Cardosa, H.D. Passos, P.P. Lagranha, C.J. Ferraz, A.C. Santos, E.F.Jr. Oliveira, R.S. Oliveira, P.E. Santos, R.de C.F.
Publication Name: Frontiers In Human Neuroscience
Publication Details: Volume 6; Article 249


Oxidative stress (OS) has been implicated in the etiology of certain neurodegenerative disorders. Some of these disorders have been associated with unbalanced levels of essential fatty acids (EFA). The response of certain brain regions to OS, however, is not uniform and a selective vulnerability or resilience can occur. In our previous study on rat brains, we observed that a two-generation EFA dietary restriction reduced the number and size of dopaminergic neurons in the substantianigra (SN) rostro dorso medial. To understand whether OS contributes to this effect, we assessed the status of lipid peroxidation (LP) and anti-oxidant markers in both SN and corpus striatum (CS) of rats submitted to this dietary treatment for one (F1) or two (F2) generations. Wistar rats were raised from conception on control or experimental diets containing adequate or reduced levels of linoleic and alpha linolenic fatty acids, respectively. LP was measured using the thiobarbituric acid reaction method (TBARS) and the total superoxide dismutase (tSOD) and catalase (CAT) enzymatic activities were assessed. The experimental diet significantly reduced the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels of SN phospholipids in the F1 (28%) and F2 (50%) groups. In F1 adult animals of the experimental group there was no LP in both SN and CS. Consistently, there was a significant increase in the tSOD activity (p less than 0.01) in both regions. In EF2 young animals, degeneration in dopaminergic and non dopaminergic neurons and a significant increase in LP (p less than 0.01) and decrease in the CAT activity (p less than 0.001) were detected in the SN, while no intergroup difference was found for these parameters in the CS. Conversely, a significant increase in tSOD activity (p less than 0.05) was detected in the CS of the experimental group compared to the control. The results show that unbalanced EFA dietary levels reduce the redox balance in the SN and reveal mechanisms of resilience in the CS under this stress foundation. (Authors abstract)
Recent studies using microarray technology have shown that DHA is able to regulate the transcription of many genes related to oxidative stress (OS), cell signaling, and apoptosis. It is well established that OS is caused by the disequilibrium between the production and detoxification of highly reactive oxygen species (ROS), including singlet oxygen, superoxide anion, and hydrogen peroxide, which can disrupt the redox balance inside cells if not properly neutralized. The superoxide anion is known to induce protein and nucleic acid dysfunction and to initiate lipid peroxidation (LP). Endogenous anti-oxidant mechanisms against superoxides include a series of linked enzyme reactions. The first of these enzymes is superoxide dismutase (SOD; EC1.15.1.1), that converts superoxide anion to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which can be removed by catalase (CAT; EC and/or glutathione peroxidase (GPx; EC Recent evidence from this laboratory, adopting a two generation model of EFA dietary restriction and stereological assessment, showed a differential vulnerability of two distinct SN dopaminergic cell populations to this type of nutritional insult. In addition to a reduction in the number of dopaminergic neurons in the SN rostro-dorso-medial region, this dietary treatment was able to change body and brain weights, TH protein levels, and the size of these neurons in young animals. The mechanisms involved in such effects are not yet completely understood. It is well established that under physiological conditions, the SN has unique biochemical features which provide a higher vulnerability to OS when compared to other brain regions, including the CS (Mythri et al., 2011). The present study was conducted to test the hypothesis that OS can be a potential mechanism involved in the neurodegeneration of SN dopaminergic cells induced by EFA dietary restriction. Whether this restriction for one or two generations could induce LP or modify the anti-oxidant activity of SOD or CAT in the SN and CS of rats was tested. The current study investigated whether a dietary restriction of both linoleic and alpha linolenic fatty acids for one or two generations could affect the redox balance in the SN and CS. The authors hypothesized that OS could be a potential mechanism involved in the loss of dopaminergic cells previously demonstrated. The data showed signals of degeneration in SN dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic neurons and indicated a differential vulnerability of SN and CS to oxidative insult induced by two generations of EFA dietary restriction. In the present study, the experimental diet based on coconut oil significantly reduced DHA levels about 28 and 50 percent in the midbrain phospholipids of the EF1 and EF2 groups, respectively, as compared to their controls. The DHA depletion was accompanied by a significant increase in DPA levels, which reinforces the condition of DHA deficiency. On the other hand, despite containing 8 percent linoleic acid (about 30percent of recommended minimal dietary requirement for rodents, the experimental diet did not modify the AA levels in either region of EF2 group. These results agree with other studies, indicating that AA is more tightly controlled than DHA in the central nervous system and that its brain concentrations are less vulnerable to limitations in the supply of precursor than other organs. The present data shows the importance of adequate dietary levels of EFA to maintain an effective redox balance in the SN. The results demonstrate that LP associated with an impaired anti-oxidant response increases the vulnerability of SN dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic neurons to degeneration induced by long-term EFA dietary restriction. These results reinforce the hypothesis that this dietary treatment increases the risk of certain neurological disorders. The data also demonstrate that biological mechanisms of resilience can be activated in the CS even under a similar condition of DHA deficiency. (Editors comments)

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