Essential Fatty Acids and the Brain
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are lipids critical for brain growth, development and function.
However, the brain’s protective blood brain barrier (BBB) is impermeable to free circulating EFAs or those bound to triglycerides and most phospholipids1,2. How the brain acquires its lipids during development and throughout life has remained a puzzle to scientist for years.
The Discovery of MFSD2a and LPL-EFAs
These findings demonstrate that MFSD2a is the major transporter of EFAs to the brain during development and throughout life. In addition, LPLs are a previously under-appreciated pool of EFAs critical to brain growth and function in humans.
Vanteres’ preclinical and clinical research if focused on:
MFSD2a and ATLs – the Larger Opportunity
MFSD2a transports LPL-unsaturated fatty acids, such as LPC-DHA, more efficiently than the more abundant LPL-saturated fatty acids5,6. At the level of the BBB and retinal-blood barrier (REB), this is consistent with MFSD2a preferential delivery of DHA to the brain and eye.
However, MFSD2a is also expressed in several tissues and cell types where EFA uptake does not require MFSD2a transport i.e. liver and brown adipose tissue5,6.
Emerging science indicates that MFSD2a transport of LPL-EFAs can act as a intracellular signal to regulate cellular function, and that dysregulation of LPL-EFA metabolism, transport and/or signalling may contribute to disease.