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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Nov-Dec;77(5-6):269-77. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

An n-3 fatty acid deficient diet affects mouse spatial learning in the Barnes circular maze.

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Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, 5625 Fishers Lane, Room 3N-07, MSC 9410, Bethesda, MD 20892-9410, USA.


Deficiency in n-3 fatty acids has been accomplished through the use of an artificial rearing method in which ICR mouse pups were hand fed a deficient diet starting from the 2nd day of life. There was a 51% loss of total brain DHA in mice with an n-3 fatty acid-deficient diet relative to those with a diet sufficient in n-3 fatty acids. n-3 fatty acid adequate and deficient mice did not differ in terms of locomotor activity in the open field test or in anxiety-related behavior in the elevated plus maze. The n-3 fatty acid-deficient mice demonstrated impaired learning in the reference-memory version of the Barnes circular maze as they spent more time and made more errors in search of an escape tunnel. No difference in performance between all dietary groups in the cued and working memory version of the Barnes maze was observed. This indicated that motivational, motor and sensory factors did not contribute to the reference memory impairment.

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