Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
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.

Author information

Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Support Center