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Studies on the effect of n-3 fatty acid depletion on recovery from traumatic brain injury

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 — Poster Session I

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • A Desai
  • J Barnes
  • K Kevala
  • HY Kim


n-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that are abundantly present in neuronal membranes. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the major n-3 PUFA, is preferentially incorporated in the brain and is believed to be an essential for optimal functioning of the brain. Moderate n-3 fatty acid deficiencies are increasingly encountered in humans due to insufficient n-3 fatty acid consumption. Moderate n-3 fatty acid deficiency was modeled in mice by feeding pregnant mice an n-3 deficient diet from gestation day 14 and placing the offspring on the same diet after weaning. Lipid analysis at 3-4 months age revealed 25-30% depletion of DHA in the brain (cerebellum) relative to the n-3 fatty acid adequate control group. The n-3 fatty acid deficient and adequate mice groups were subjected to traumatic brain injury (TBI) by controlled cortical impact and behavioral parameters were tested after injury to ascertain differences in recovery. Slower recovery was observed in the n-3 fatty acid deficient group. This was also accompanied by increased anxiety-like behavior. These results suggest that moderate n-3 fatty acid deficiency results in impaired recovery from focal TBI. Further studies are in progress to clarify the mechanisms by which n-3 fatty acid deficiency may affect the TBI outcome.

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