Researchers have discovered a new class of molecules in the brain that synchronize cell-to-cell communication and neuroinflammation/immune activity in response to injury or diseases. Elovanoids (ELVs) are bioactive chemical messengers made from omega-3 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs,n-3). They are released on demand when cells are damaged or stressed.

Working in neuronal cell cultures from the cerebral cortex and from the hippocampus and a model of ischemic stroke, the researchers found that elovanoids not only protected neuronal cells and promoted their survival, but helped maintain their integrity and stability. The work is published in Science Advances.

Although the occurrence of very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids has been well documented, what has not been known is their significance and potential to be converted into biochemical triggers to resolve injury, inflammation and other threats to neuronal communication and cell survival.

The researchers discovered the structure and characteristics of two elovanoids – ELV-N32 and ELV-N34 – in the brain. Starting with neuron cell cultures and then an experimental model of stroke, they found that elovanoids were activated when cells underwent either oxygen/glucose deprivation or excitotoxicity – early events associated with stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury and other neurodegenerative diseases. They determined the concentrations and therapeutic windows at which elovanoids conferred neuroprotection. The team found that elovanoids overcame the damaging effects and toxicity of these early events. In the stroke model, elovanoids reduced the size of the damaged brain area, initiated repair mechanisms and improved neurological/behavioral recovery.

Paper: “Elovanoids are a novel class of homeostatic lipid mediators that protect neural cell integrity upon injury”
Reprinted from materials provided by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

February 28, 2018