Perturbations in fatty acid (FA) metabolism as well as thinning of the cerebral cortex have been associated with cognitive decline in the elderly. Predominant FAs in the brain are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). Approximately 2–8% of esterified DHA and 3–5% of esterified ARA in the brain are replaced daily. DHA and ARA are derivatives of 18-carbon essential FAs, α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, that must be imported into the brain from the circulation. In blood, FAs are primarily transported in triacylglycerols (TAGs) from which they can be released at the blood–brain-barrier and transported inside the brain. We show that circulating levels of TAGs carrying 18-carbon FAs are positively associated with cortical thickness in middle-aged adults. These associations are stronger in cortical regions with higher expression of genes regulating long-chain FA metabolism and cellular membranes, and cortical thickness in the same regions may be related to cognitive performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)