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Lipids. 2013 Apr;48(4):343-55. doi: 10.1007/s11745-013-3775-5. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Plasticity of mouse brain docosahexaenoic acid: modulation by diet and age.

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Healthcare Research Institute, Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, Hiroshima, Japan


Decreases in brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been associated with losses in brain function leading to an interest in the conditions which lead to such brain decreases, and such variables as age. Also of relevance would be the rate of repletion of DHA when the n-3 dietary deficiency is reversed. This experiment describes dietary deficiency in n-3 fatty acids induced in weanling (3 week) and young adult (7 week) mice. There was an immediate and continuous loss of brain DHA with similar rates in the two age groups. Serum DHA declined more rapidly in younger animals with respect to similarly treated adults. Brain and serum docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn-6) increased more rapidly and to higher levels in the younger animals. A second experiment determined the rates of normalization of brain fatty acid profiles when alpha-linolenic acid was added to the diets of n-3 deficient mice. Brain DHA recovery occurred at a faster rate (half-time, T 1/2 = 1.4 weeks) when begun at weaning relative to young adult mice (T 1/2 = 3.5 weeks). Correspondingly, brain DPAn-6 recovered faster in the younger animals; the adult group had a half-time of more than twice that of the 3-week old group. This study therefore demonstrates that the young adult mouse brain DHA is somewhat plastic and can be partially depleted via a low n-3 fatty acid diet and subsequently restored when dietary n-3 fatty acids are repleted. Relevance of these findings for human nutrition is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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