Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are part of lipid bilayer membranes that are vital for neuronal and retinal performance. However, their structure makes PUFAs vulnerable to the chain reaction of lipid peroxidation, which cannot be controlled by antioxidants. Lipid peroxidation damages membranes and produces toxic secondary products, which play a major role in the aetiology of many neurological and retinal diseases, as well as in ageing.
A novel approach will be discussed that stabilizes PUFAs against the peroxidation chain reaction, without altering their chemical identity, by means of deuterating the oxidation-prone sites. This approach is currently undergoing several clinical trials.