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The Role of Fatty Acids in the Regulation of Cerebral Vascular Function and Neuroprotection in Ischemia

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Cerebral circulation is tightly regulated by vasoactive substances. There is a delicate balance among vasoconstriction and vasodilation factors. During ischemia/stroke, cerebral blood flow autoregulation may be compromised triggering hyperemia (early phase) or hypoperfusion (late phase or post-ischemia) deranging cerebral blood flow that can lead to subsequent neuronal cell death due to blood flow abnormalities. Traditional vasoactive mediators such as nitric oxide and calcitonin gene-related peptide have been well-documented to provide vasodilation and neuroprotection in the ischemic brain. An emerging field is the identification of fatty acids (polyunsaturated or saturated) that can lead to vasodilation possibly causing neuroprotection. This review investigates fatty acids such as palmitic acid methyl ester, α-linolenic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid as novel vasoactive substances that can modulate cerebral blood flow as well as offer neuroprotection after ischemia.
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Keywords: Palmitic acid methyl ester; docosahexaenoic acid; neuroprotection; vasodilation; α-Linolenic acid

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2013

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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