The relationship between schizophrenia and essential fatty acid and eicosanoid metabolism.


Horrobin DF




Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids


Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and their eicosanoid derivatives are important constituents of the brain and regulators of neuronal function. There is direct and indirect evidence of impaired metabolism of prostaglandin (PG)E1 in schizophrenia. There is also direct evidence of abnormal EFA biochemistry with plasma phospholipids from five populations and brain phospholipids from another all showing reduced levels of linoleic acid and elevated levels of 22-carbon EFAs of both n-6 and n-3 series. Clinical trials of PGE1 and of the PGE1 precursors, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) have shown modest therapeutic effects. In view of lack of therapeutic process involving drugs based on the dopamine concept of schizophrenia, it is time for new approaches based on the EFA/PG concept to be evaluated thoroughly.