In the December 2008 British Journal of Nutrition Chapkin et al ( Bioactive dietary long chain fatty acids: emerging mechanisms of action BJN vol 100 pp 1152-57) discuss the role of dietary long chain fatty acids.
They describe the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells as containing self organising intrinsically unstable liquid ordered domains or lipid assemblies in which key transduction proteins are localised.
These are lipid rafts ( 10-200 nm ) and consist of cholesterol and sphingolipid microdomains which do not integrate readily with the phospholipid biolayers. They suggest that dietary long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids . especially n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and maybe conjugated fatty acids alter the basic properties of cell membrane, lipid raft behaviour and protein function. And hence cell signalling, protein trafficking and cell cytokinetics and apoptosis. The balance between cell proliferation and apoptosis is critical to the maintenance of steady state cell populations in the body.
- Martin Eastwood