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Psychiatry Res. 2015 Jun 30;227(2-3):353-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.01.004. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Fatty acid composition of the postmortem prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder.

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Laboratory for Molecular Psychiatry, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Saitama 351-0198, Japan; Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama City, Toyama 930-0194, Japan. Electronic address:
Laboratory for Molecular Psychiatry, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
The Molecular Psychiatry Laboratory, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Howard Florey Laboratories, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; The Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


Postmortem brain studies have shown abnormal levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially docosahexaenoic acid, in the frontal cortex (particularly the orbitofrontal cortex) of patients with depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. However, the results from regions in the frontal cortex other than the orbitofrontal cortex are inconsistent. In this study we investigated whether patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder have abnormalities in PUFA levels in the prefrontal cortex [Brodmann area (BA) 8]. In postmortem studies, fatty acids in the phospholipids of the prefrontal cortex (BA8) were evaluated by thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography. Specimens were evaluated for patients with schizophrenia (n=15), bipolar disorder (n=15), or major depressive disorder (n=15) and compared with unaffected controls (n=15). In contrast to previous studies, we found no significant differences in the levels of PUFAs or other fatty acids in the prefrontal cortex (BA8) between patients and controls. Subanalysis by sex also showed no significant differences. No significant differences were found in any individual fatty acids between suicide and non-suicide cases. These psychiatric disorders might be characterized by very specific fatty acid compositions in certain areas of the brain, and BA8 might not be involved in abnormalities of PUFA metabolism.


Brodmann area 8; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Postmortem brain; Prefrontal cortex

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