Naturally Occurring Nervonic Acid Ester Improves Myelin Synthesis by Human Oligodendrocytes

Natalia Lewkowicz, Paweł Piątek, Magdalena Namiecińska, Małgorzata Domowicz, Radosław Bonikowski, Janusz Szemraj, Patrycja Przygodzka, Mariusz Stasiołek, Przemysław Lewkowicz

Cells. 2019 Jul 29;8(8):786.

PMID: 31362382


The dysfunction of oligodendrocytes (OLs) is regarded as one of the major causes of inefficient remyelination in multiple sclerosis, resulting gradually in disease progression. Oligodendrocytes are derived from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which populate the adult central nervous system, but their physiological capability to myelin synthesis is limited. The low intake of essential lipids for sphingomyelin synthesis in the human diet may account for increased demyelination and the reduced efficiency of the remyelination process. In our study on lipid profiling in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis brain, we revealed that during acute inflammation, nervonic acid synthesis is silenced, which is the effect of shifting the lipid metabolism pathway of common substrates into proinflammatory arachidonic acid production. In the experiments on the human model of maturating oligodendrocyte precursor cells (hOPCs) in vitro, we demonstrated that fish oil mixture (FOM) affected the function of hOPCs, resulting in the improved synthesis of myelin basic protein, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, and proteolipid protein, as well as sphingomyelin. Additionally, FOM reduces proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and enhances fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) synthesis by hOPCs was also demonstrated. Based on these observations, we propose that the intake of FOM rich in the nervonic acid ester may improve OL function, affecting OPC maturation and limiting inflammation.

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