Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Do omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids ameliorate spinal cord injury?: Commentary on: Lim et al., Improved outcome after spinal cord compression injury in mice treated with docosahexaeonic acid. Exp. Neurol. Jan; 239:13-27. Exp Neurol 2013 Nov;249:104-10



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84884278859   10 Citations


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) treatment is emerging as a potential treatment for spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury, which mainly affects young adults, leads to devastating consequences for the afflicted person with very few treatment options available. In addition to the initial neuronal and glial cell loss, secondary injuries such as excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation magnify the initial damage. Current strategies involve surgical stabilization and decompression and post-injury rehabilitation but these result in only limited improvements. Therefore, there is still a need for pharmacological interventions to limit the secondary injury processes and improve functional recovery. Research in the past decade has implicated n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as a neuroprotective agent capable of limiting post-injury excitotoxic events. This commentary examines the recent findings suggesting a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory role for the PUFA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in a mouse model of SCI. These findings on DHA are addressed in relation to previous data on DHA and various other promising treatment options being investigated for SCI. Finally, the research involved in the translation of DHA therapy for SCI patients is explored.

Author List

Satkunendrarajah K, Fehlings MG


Kajana Satkunendrarajah PhD Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Docosahexaenoic Acids
Spinal Cord Compression