Send to

Choose Destination
J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Apr;21(4):268-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2008.12.015. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on synaptic plasticity, fatty acid profile and phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling in rat hippocampus and differentiated PC12 cells.

Author information

Development Research, Pharmaceutical Research Center, Mochida Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Jimba, Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-8524, Japan.


Placebo-controlled clinical studies suggest that intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improves neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and schizophrenia. To evaluate the impact of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), we orally administered highly purified ethyl EPA (EPA-E) to rats at a dose of 1.0 mg/g per day and measured long-term potentiation of the CA1 hippocampal region, a physiological correlate of synaptic plasticity that is thought to underlie learning and memory. The mean field excitatory postsynaptic potential slope of the EPA-E group was significantly greater than that of the control group in the CA1 region. Gene expression of hippocampal p85alpha, one of the regulatory subunits of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase), was increased with EPA-E administration. Investigation of fatty acid profiles of neuronal and glia-enriched fractions demonstrated that a single administration of EPA-E significantly increased neuronal and glial EPA content and glial docosahexaenoic acid content, clearly suggesting that EPA was indeed taken up by both neurons and glial cells. In addition, we investigated the direct effects of EPA on the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway in differentiated PC12 cells. Phosphorylated-Akt expression was significantly increased in EPA-treated cells, and nerve growth factor withdrawal-induced increases in cell death and caspase-3 activity were suppressed by EPA treatment. These findings suggest that EPA protects against neurodegeneration by modulating synaptic plasticity and activating the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway, possibly by its own functional effects in neurons and glial cells and by its capacity to increase brain docosahexaenoic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center