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J Lipid Res. 1997 Apr;38(4):680-9.

Age-related changes in phospholipid fatty acid composition and monoaminergic neurotransmission in the hippocampus of rats fed a balanced or an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-deficient diet.

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  • 1INSERM U316, Laboratoire de Biophysique M├ędicale et Pharmaceutique, Tours, France.


The influence of aging (2, 6, 12, and 24 months) on hippocampal lipid composition and neurochemical markers (endogenous noradrenaline, serotonin levels, monoamine oxidase (MOA) activities) was studied in rats fed a control or an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-deficient diet. The n-3 PUFA deficiency reduced the 22:6 (n-3) level, compensated by the increase in 22:5 (n-6). However, the difference in 22:6 (n-3) content between control and deficient rats was less between 2 and 12 months and then became stable. There was an overall age-induced decrease in the major phospholipid classes phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), and phosphatidylcholine (PC) whereas the minor classes, phosphatidylinositol (PI), phosphatidylserine (PS), and sphingomyelin (SM), were greatly increased, regardless of diet. The n-3 PUFA deficiency induced a reduction in the PS level, concomitant with a higher level in MAO-B activity as compared to control rats at the age of 24 months. The age-related evolution of the MAO-B activity was parallel with that of noradrenaline levels in both dietary groups. The noradrenaline and serotonin levels were modified according to age but without effect of the n-3 PUFA deficiency. Results showed that the hippocampus sustained specific age-induced modifications in lipid composition and neurotransmission factors, often with a transition period between 6 and 12 months.

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