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Mol Psychiatry. 2007 Feb;12(2):151-7. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Dietary n-3 PUFA deprivation alters expression of enzymes of the arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acid cascades in rat frontal cortex.

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Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The enzymes that regulate the brain arachidonic acid (AA) cascade have been implicated in bipolar disorder and neuroinflammation. Fifteen weeks of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation in rats decreases the concentration of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and increases its half-life within the brain. Based on this, we hypothesized that such dietary deprivation would decrease expression of enzymes responsible for the metabolic loss of DHA while increasing expression of those responsible for the metabolism of AA. Fifteen weeks of n-3 PUFA deprivation significantly decreased the activity, protein and mRNA expression of the DHA regulatory phospholipase A2 (PLA2), calcium-independent iPLA2, in rat frontal cortex. In contrast the activities, protein and mRNA levels of the AA selective calcium-dependent cytosolic phospholipase (cPLA2) and secretory sPLA2 were increased. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 protein but not mRNA was decreased in the n-3 PUFA-deprived rats whereas COX-2 protein and mRNA were increased. This study suggests that n-3 PUFA deprivation increases the half-live of brain DHA by downregulating iPLA2. The finding that n-3 PUFA deprivation increases cPLA2, sPLA2 and COX-2 is opposite to what has been reported after chronic administration of anti-manic agents to rats and suggests that n-3 PUFA deprivation may increase susceptibility to bipolar disorder.

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