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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Jul 12;1347(1):40-50.

During neuronal and glial cell development diet n-6 to n-3 fatty acid ratio alters the fatty acid composition of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylserine.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Brain development was examined in the neonatal rat in response to feeding increased levels of 18:3n - 3, 20:4n - 6 or 22:6n - 3 at levels proposed for infant formula. Diets varying in n - 6 to n - 3 fatty acid ratio, with or without 20:4n - 6 and 22:6n - 3 alone or in combination, were fed to nursing dams at parturition and subsequently to weaned pups until six weeks of age. Neuronal and glial cells were isolated from the frontal, cerebellar and hippocampal brain regions of rat pups at birth, one, two, three and six weeks of age. Fatty acid analysis of inositol- and serine- phosphoglycerides indicated that small changes in dietary n - 6 to n - 3 fatty acid ratio significantly affect neuronal and glial cell membrane composition. Fatty acid composition of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylserine was distinct and exhibited change with age. Individual brain regions and cell types varied in amount and rate of 20:4n - 6 and 22:6n - 3 accretion. Alteration of brain fatty acid composition reflected the fatty acid composition of the diet fed. If analogous changes occur during human brain development, feeding infants 20:4n - 6 and 22:6n - 3 or a reduced 18:2n - 6 to 18:3n - 3 ratio may alter fatty acid profiles of brain cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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