This discovery provides the first evidence of the existence of elovanoids in the concepts of biology. A new class of mediators, or biochemical triggers named as elovanoids (ELVs). Their significant role protecting and sustaining retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) and photoreceptor cell survival.
Elovanoids first bioactive chemical messengers made from omega-3 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (VLC-PUFAs, n-3). Firstly, these cells released in response to cell injury or cells are confronted with unpleasant situation for survival.
“We believe this discovery represents a new concept of biology that will be transformative in medicine,” says Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans.
New class of molecules in human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Cells classified into mediators and are derived from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is present abundantly in the retina and also serves as a precursor of signaling molecules called Docosanoids. This cells promote cell stability and equilibrium and act to protect the cell.
Developing new therapies for conditions like Stargardt’s disease
The DHA- or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-derived 26 carbon fatty acid molecule acted upon by elongating enzyme ELOVL4. Expressed in photoreceptor cells ELOVL4 mutations linked to vision loss and neuronal dysfunction. This has implications for developing new therapies for conditions such as Stargardt’s disease and other forms of retinal degeneration.
Meanwhile, Bazan and team found ELVs made from 32 or 34 carbon-length fatty acid precursors produced naturally in human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. However, Most of the known lipid mediators or messengers derived from 18, 20, or 22 carbon-length fatty acid precursors. Including prostaglandins, leukotrienes, lipoxyns, endocanabinoids, resolvins and docosanoids.
Moreover, Elovanoids have structures reminiscent of docosanoids but with different physicochemical properties and alternatively regulated biosynthetic pathways. Elovanoids are longer than all known mediators may be the key to their potency.
The longer elovanoids may be able to reach and bind for a longer period of time to receptors in cells. Necessary to induce cell survival.
Research reveals potential therapeutic targets for retinal degeneration diseases. In addition, these findings provide major conceptual advances of broad relevance for the survival of neural as well as any other cells in the body by turning on neuro protection using a set of molecules that mimic how the body naturally activates this protection.