Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) with a focus on inflammation, demyelination, and damage to axons leading to neurological deficits. MS pathology is associated with excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and generation of reactive nitrogen species (RNS), causing oxidative/nitrosative stress. Deregulation of glutathione homeostasis and alterations in glutathione‐dependent enzymes are implicated in MS. Reactive oxygen species enhance both monocyte adhesion and migration across brain endothelial cells. In addition, ROS can activate the expression of the nuclear transcription factor‐kappa, which upregulates the expression of many genes involved in MS, such as tumor necrosis factor‐α and nitric oxide synthase, among others, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and energy deficits that result in mitochondrial and cellular calcium overload. Loss of mitochondrial membrane potential can increase the release of cytochrome c, one pathway that leads to neuronal apoptosis. Clinical studies suggest that omega‐3 long‐chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have anti‐inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects in MS and animal models of MS. Here, we review the relationship of oxidative stress, the glutathione redox system, the ATPase system, and membrane fluidity with the development of MS. In addition, we describe the main findings of a clinical trial conducted with relapsing‐remitting MS patients who received a diet supplemented with 4 g/day of fish oil or olive oil. The effects of PUFAs supplementation on the parameters indicated above are analyzed in this work.
Part of the book: Trending Topics in Multiple Sclerosis