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J Mol Neurosci. 2001 Apr-Jun;16(2-3):299-307; discussion 317-21.

Alterations in brain function after loss of docosahexaenoate due to dietary restriction of n-3 fatty acids.

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1
Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA. nsalem@niaaa.nih.gov

Abstract

The concentration of the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in brain, docosahexaenoate, may be markedly reduced by two or more generations of dietary restriction of sources of n-3 fatty acids in the diet. Such a deficiency was induced through the feeding of safflower oil as the principal source of essential fatty acids. The reference point for this diet was an n-3 adequate diet to which alpha-linoleate and docosahexaenoate were added through the addition of a small quantity of flax seed or algael oils, respectively. The loss of brain DHA was associated with poorer performance in spatial tasks and an olfactory-cued reversal learning task. No difference could be observed in the hippocampal gross morphology. This study demonstrates the importance of providing a source of n-3 fatty acids during mammalian growth and development.

PMID:
11478385
DOI:
10.1385/JMN:16:2-3:299
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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