Nervonic acid is recommended to pregnant and nursing women as it can speed up the development in infants. It is particularly abundant in the white matter of animal brains and in peripheral nervous tissue. Yet there are very few studies on it in the realm of neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, the authors applied behavioral, transcriptomic and metabolomic approaches to analyze the neuroprotective effect of nervonic acid and its molecular mechanism in Alzheimer's disease model mice.
They shown that nervonic acid improved motor skills and learning and memory abilities of mice at the behavioral level.
To further understand the specific pathways involved in this protective effect, the authors applied the metabolomics and transcriptomics profilings and focused on the expression patterns of genes that nervonic acid might alter, particularly those related to the accumulation of metabolites in the brain.
In lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced Alzheimer's disease mice, pathways related to neuroinflammation (two imprecise notions) are significantly increased compared with the normal control, and pathways related to neuronal growth and synaptic plasticity are significantly downregulated.
When nervonic acid was used for protection in this mice model of Alzheimer, these signaling pathways induced by LPS were partially reversed. At the same time, compared with the Alzheimer's disease model group, upregulation of arachidonic acid metabolism, purine metabolism, and primary bile acid biosynthesis and downregulation of amino acid metabolic pathways were particularly pronounced in the nervonic acid treatment group.
Nervonic acid improved the spatial and learning behavior of the mice impaired by LPS administration.
In summary, authors' results show that in LPS mice model, nervonic acid can significantly ameliorate neuroinflammation and deterioration of learning and memory, and exerts a neuroprotective function through regulation of multiple gene transcription and metabolism pathways.