Lysophosphatidylcholine as a preferred carrier form of docosahexaenoic acid to the brain

J Mol Neurosci. 2001 Apr-Jun;16(2-3):201-4; discussion 215-21. doi: 10.1385/JMN:16:2-3:201.


The metabolic fate of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was evaluated from its intake as a nutrient in triglycerides and phosphatidylcholines to its uptake by target tissues, especially the brain. Several approaches were used including the kinetics and tissue distribution of ingested 13C-labeled DHA, the incorporation of radiolabeled DHA injected as its nonesterified form compared to the fatty acid esterified in lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC), and the capacity of the two latter forms to cross a reconstituted blood-brain barrier (BBB) consisting of cocultures of brain-capillary endothelial cells and astrocytes. The results obtained allow us to raise the hypothesis that lysoPC may represent a preferred physiological carrier of DHA to the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacokinetics
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / metabolism*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacokinetics
  • Fish Oils / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylcholines / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fish Oils
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Serum Albumin
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids