Suphioglu C, De Mel D, Kumar L, Sadli N, Freestone D, Michalczyk A, Sinclair A, Ackland ML. (2010) FEBS Lett. 584(3) 612-8. Epub 2009 Dec 17.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid in neuronal cell membranes. We hypothesize that DHA induces a decrease in neuronal cell death through reduced ZnT3 expression and zinc uptake. Exposure of M17 cells to DHA-deficient medium increased the levels of active caspase-3, relative to levels in DHA-replete cells, confirming the adverse effects of DHA deficiency in promoting neuronal cell death. In DHA-treated M17 cells, zinc uptake was 65% less and ZnT3 mRNA and protein levels were reduced in comparison with DHA-depleted cells. We propose that the neuroprotective function of DHA is exerted through a reduction in cellular zinc levels that in turn inhibits apoptosis.