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J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;27(4):853-69. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-111010.

Endogenous conversion of omega-6 into omega-3 fatty acids improves neuropathology in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada.


Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) reduces amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau pathology and improves cognitive performance in animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). To exclude confounding variables associated with the diet, we crossed 3 × Tg-AD mice (modeling AD neuropathology) with transgenic Fat-1 mice that express the fat-1 gene encoding a PUFA desaturase, which endogenously produces n-3 PUFA from n-6 PUFA. The expression of fat-1 shifted the n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio upward in the brain (+11%, p < 0.001), including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; +5%, p < 0.001) in 20 month-old mice. The expression of fat-1 decreased the levels of soluble Aβ₄₂ (-41%, p < 0.01) at 20 months without reducing the level of insoluble forms of Aβ₄₀ and Aβ₄₂ in the brain of 3 × Tg-AD mice. The 3 × Tg-AD/Fat-1 mice exhibited lower cortical levels of both soluble (-25%, p < 0.05) and insoluble phosphorylated tau (-55%, p < 0.05) compared to 3 × Tg-AD mice, but only in 20 month-old animals. Whereas a decrease of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II was observed in 3 × Tg-AD/Fat-1 mice (-039%, p < 0.05), altered tau phosphorylation could not be related to changes in glycogen synthase kinase 3β, cyclin-dependent kinase 5, or protein phosphatase type 2A enzymatic activity. In addition, the expression of the fat-1 transgene prevented the increase of glial fibrillary acidic protein (-37%, p < 0.01) observed in 20 month-old 3 × Tg-AD mice. In conclusion, the expression of fat-1 in 3 × Tg-AD mice increases brain DHA and induces biomarker changes that are consistent with a beneficial effect against an AD-like neuropathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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