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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57945. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057945. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Vulnerability imposed by diet and brain trauma for anxiety-like phenotype: implications for post-traumatic stress disorders.

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  • 1Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI, cerebral concussion) is a risk factor for the development of psychiatric illness such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We sought to evaluate how omega-3 fatty acids during brain maturation can influence challenges incurred during adulthood (transitioning to unhealthy diet and mTBI) and predispose the brain to a PTSD-like pathobiology. Rats exposed to diets enriched or deficient in omega-3 fatty acids (n-3) during their brain maturation period, were transitioned to a western diet (WD) when becoming adult and then subjected to mTBI. TBI resulted in an increase in anxiety-like behavior and its molecular counterpart NPY1R, a hallmark of PTSD, but these effects were more pronounced in the animals exposed to n-3 deficient diet and switched to WD. The n-3 deficiency followed by WD disrupted BDNF signaling and the activation of elements of BDNF signaling pathway (TrkB, CaMKII, Akt and CREB) in frontal cortex. TBI worsened these effects and more prominently in combination with the n-3 deficiency condition. Moreover, the n-3 deficiency primed the immune system to the challenges imposed by the WD and brain trauma as evidenced by results showing that the WD or mTBI affected brain IL1β levels and peripheral Th17 and Treg subsets only in animals previously conditioned to the n-3 deficient diet. These results provide novel evidence for the capacity of maladaptive dietary habits to lower the threshold for neurological disorders in response to challenges.

PMID:
23483949
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3590222
Free PMC Article
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