Brain Swelling Induced by Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA)

Also see:
PUFA, Fish Oil, and Alzheimers
PUFA – Accumulation and Aging
The Brain – Estrogen’s Harm and Progesterone’s Protection
Nutrition and Brain Growth in Chick Embryos
Estrogen’s Role in Seizures
Menstrual Cycle Related Epilepsy (Catamenial Epilepsy)
Phospholipases, PUFA, and Inflammation
Women, Estrogen, and Circulating DHA
Arachidonic Acid’s Role in Stress and Shock
Estrogen’s Role in Seizures
Fish Oil Toxicity

Science. 1978 Jul 28;201(4353):358-60.
Brain edema: induction in cortical slices by polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Chan PH, Fishman RA.
The presence of polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids in leukocytic membranes prompted study of their possible role in the induction of brain edema. Polyunsaturated fatty acids including sodium arachidonate, sodium linoleate, sodium linolenate, and docasahexaenoic acids induced edma in slices of rat brain cortex. This cellular edema was specific, since neither saturated fatty acids nor a fatty acid containing a single double bond had such effect.

Ann Neurol. 1983 Jun;13(6):625-32.
Induction of brain edema following intracerebral injection of arachidonic acid.
Chan PH, Fishman RA, Caronna J, Schmidley JW, Prioleau G, Lee J.
The effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain edema formation have been studied in rats. Intracerebral injection of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including linolenic acid (18:3) and arachidonic acid (20:4), caused significant increases in cerebral water and sodium content concomitant with decreases in potassium content and Na+- and K+- dependent adenosine triphosphatase activity. There was gross and microscopic evidence of edema. Saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acid were not effective in inducing brain edema. The [125I]-bovine serum albumin spaces increased twofold and threefold at 24 hours with 18:3 and 20:4, respectively, indicating vasogenic edema with increased permeability of brain endothelial cells. Staining of the brain was observed five minutes after injection of Evans blue dye followed by arachidonic acid perfusion. A major decrease in brain potassium content was evidence of concurrent cellular (cytotoxic) edema as well. The induction of brain edema by arachidonic acid was dose dependent and maximal between 24 and 48 hours after perfusion. Dexamethasone (10 mg/kg) was effective in ameliorating the brain edema, whereas a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin (10 mg/kg), was not. These data indicate that arachidonic acid and other PUFAs have the ability to induce vasogenic and cellular brain edema and further support the hypothesis that the degradation of phospholipids and accumulation of PUFAs, particularly arachidonic acid, initiate the development of brain edema in various disease states.

Neurochem Res. 1980 Jun;5(6):629-40.
Arachidonic acid-induced swelling in incubated rat brain cortical slices. Effect of bovine serum albumin.
Chan PH, Fishman RA, Lee JL, Quan SC.
The influence of bovine serum albumin (BSA) on the rat brain cortical swelling induced by sodium arachidonate and polyunsaturated fatty acids has been studied. Coincubation of arachidonate with BSA at a molar ratio of 5 (arachidonate/BSA) or less greater inhibited the arachidonate-induced swelling. As the molar ratio of arachidonate/BSA increased, the degree of swelling increased. The swelling was not reversed by BSA, although the BSA released 46% of the previously incorporated [3H]arachidonic acid from the cortical slices. The entry of [3H]arachidonate into the slice was completely abolished by 0.1 mM BSA or partially inhibited by exogenous arachidonate. It is concluded that the induction of brain swelling by arachidonate requires the intracellular transport of exogenous arachidonate.

J Neurochem. 1980 Oct;35(4):1004-7.
Transient formation of superoxide radicals in polyunsaturated fatty acid-induced brain swelling.
Chan PH, Fishman RA.
The involvement of superoxide free radicals and lipid peroxidation in brain swelling induced by free fatty acids has been studied in brain slices and homogenates. The polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic acid (18:2), linolenic acid (18:3), arachidonic acid (20:4), and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6) caused brain swelling concomitant with increases in superoxide and membrane lipid peroxidation. Palmitic acid (16:0) and oleic acid (18:1) had no such effect. Furthermore, superoxide formation was stimulated by NADPH and scavenged by the addition of exogenous superoxide dismutase in cortical slice homogenates. These in vitro data support the hypothesis that both superoxide radicals and lipid peroxidation are involved in the mechanism of polyunsaturated fatty acid-induced brain edema.

J Neurochem. 1982 Feb;38(2):525-31.
Phospholipid degradation and cellular edema induced by free radicals in brain cortical slices.
Chan PH, Yurko M, Fishman RA.
Cellular edema and increased lactate production were induced in rat brain cortical slices by xanthine oxidase and xanthine, in the presence of ferric dialdehyde, was increased 174%. Among the various subcellular fractions of brain cortex, xanthine oxidase-stimulated lipid peroxidation was highest in myelin, mitochondria, and synaptosomes, followed by microsomes and nuclei. Antioxidants, catalase, chlorpromazine, and butylated hydroxytoluene inhibited lipid peroxidation in both homogenates and synaptosomes, indicating H2O2 and radicals were involved. Further, several free fatty acids, especially oleic acid (18:1), arachidonic acid (20:4), and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6) were released from the phospholipid pool concomitant with the degradation of membrane phospholipids in xanthine oxidase-treated synaptosomes. These data suggest that lipases are activated by free radicals and lipid peroxides in the pathogenesis of cellular swelling.

J Neurosci Res. 1984;12(4):595-605.
Release of polyunsaturated fatty acids from phospholipids and alteration of brain membrane integrity by oxygen-derived free radicals.
Chan PH, Fishman RA, Schmidley JW, Chen SF.
We studied the effects of oxygen-derived free radicals on the ultrastructure of brain cortical slices and the release of fatty acids from phospholipids of crude synaptosomes. Xanthine oxidase, hypoxanthine, and ADP-Fe3+, a free-radical-generating system, caused swelling of cellular processes and mitochondria. The oxygen-derived free radicals also caused the rapid release and accumulation of endogenous polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from membrane phospholipids as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Furthermore, [3H]-arachidonic acid was also rapidly released from prelabeled phospholipids concomitant with a decrease in radioactivity in various phospholipid fractions. The radioactivities of neutral lipids including diacylglycerols were unchanged by free radicals. These data indicate that the activation of phospholipase A2 and the release of PUFA may have overt effect on membrane integrity and the subsequent development of cellular injury and brain edema.

“When the brain is injured, DHA and arachidonic acid contribute to brain edema, weakening the blood-brain-barrier, increasing protein breakdown, inflammation, and peroxidation, while a similar amount of stearic acid in the same situation caused no harm (Yang, et al., 2007).” -Ray Peat, PhD

Neurotoxicology. 2007 Nov;28(6):1220-9. Epub 2007 Aug 10.
Detrimental effects of post-treatment with fatty acids on brain injury in ischemic rats.
Yang DY, Pan HC, Yen YJ, Wang CC, Chuang YH, Chen SY, Lin SY, Liao SL, Raung SL, Wu CW, Chou MC, Chiang AN, Chen CJ.
Studies have illustrated that fatty acids, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), have a role in regulating oxidative stress via the enhancement of antioxidative defense capacity or the augmentation of oxidative burden. Elevated oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of brain injury associated with cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). The objective of this study was to assess whether treatment with fatty acids after focal cerebral I/R induced by occlusion of the common carotid arteries and the middle cerebral artery has effects on brain injury in a rat model. PUFA, including arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the saturated fatty acid, stearic acid (SA), were administrated 60 min after reperfusion via intraperitoneal injection. AA and DHA aggravated cerebral ischemic injury, which manifested as enlargement of areas of cerebral infarction and increased impairment of motor activity, in a concentration-dependent manner. However, there were no remarkable differences in post-ischemic alterations between the SA and saline groups. The post-ischemic augmentation of injury in AA and DHA treatment groups was accompanied by increases in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), brain edema, metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, inflammatory cell infiltration, cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) expression, caspase 3 activity, and malondialdehyde (MDA) production, and by a decrease in the brain glutathione (GSH) content. Furthermore, we found that either AA or DHA alone had little effect on free radical generation in neuroglia, but they greatly increased the hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative burden. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the detrimental effect of PUFA such as AA and DHA in post-ischemic progression and brain injury after cerebral I/R is associated with augmentation of cerebral I/R-induced alterations, including oxidative changes.

Fed Proc. 1984 Feb;43(2):210-3.
The role of arachidonic acid in vasogenic brain edema.
Chan PH, Fishman RA.
Arachidonic acid is released rapidly from cellular membrane phospholipids after pathological insults associated with the delayed development of brain edema. Intracerebral injection of arachidonic acid caused significant increases in brain water and sodium content with decreases in potassium content and Na+,K+-ATPase activity. The 125I-labeled bovine serum albumin spaces in brain (a measure of blood-brain barrier permeability) rose threefold 24 h after arachidonic acid injection. There was gross and microscopic evidence of edema. Saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids were not effective. These data indicate that the endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier are target sites for the action of arachidonic acid. It is hypothesized that the increased permeability of endothelial cells to macromolecules and water results from alterations of membrane phospholipids and increased vesicular transport, changes that are responsible for the delayed development of vasogenic edema.

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