Effects of Dietary Alpha-Linolenic Acid Deficiency on Neuromuscular and Cognitive Functions in Mice.

January 1, 1995 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Effects of Dietary Alpha-Linolenic Acid Deficiency on Neuromuscular and Cognitive Functions in Mice.

Year: 1995
Authors: H Frances, C Monier, J M Bourre.
Publication Name: Life Sci.
Publication Details: Volume 57; Number 21; 1935.


Rats fed n-3 PUFA (ALA) restricted diets during development show a significant decrease in DHA levels in PLs of synaptic membranes, myelin, retina, brain, sciatic nerves, liver, heart, kidney and muscle. Biochemical alterations resulting from n-3 deficiency have been shown to cause physiological and behavioral modifications including learning impairment. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of ALA restriction on the level of anxiety induced by several tests as well as cognitive function in mice. In addition, defensive behavior, muscular function and motor coordination were also assessed. Three weeks before mating female mice were fed a diet containing either peanut oil deficient in ALA (n-3)- or a peanut oil diet blended with canola oil rich in ALA (n-3)+. The latter group served as controls and were fed 200 mg ALA/100 g of diet. Pups, aged 47 to 61 days, fed the same diet as their dams, were used for behavioral experiments. A marked reduction in the content of DHA and increases in n-6 PUFA were noted in the brains of mice fed the (n-3)-deficiency diet. Muscular function and neuromuscular coordination were assessed by the traction test (learning assessment), the elevated rotarod test (adaptation assessment) and swimming endurance. The results indicated no differences in these indices between the animals fed the (n-3)-deficiency diet and the controls. A standard measure of the level of anxiety was assessed using an elevated plus-maze (anxiety protocol), a light-dark transition test (retinal function) and a neophobia test (feeding of unusual food following food deprivation). These indices did not differ between (n-3)- and control (n-3)+ mice. Defensive behavior was not changed by the diet. The pentobarbital-induced loss of the righting reflex had the same duration in controls as in (n-3)- deficient mice. Mice fed the (n-3)- deficient diet showed less efficient learning in the elevated plus-maze (learning protocol) and poorer understanding of the situation (or less motivation to escape) in the low rotarod test than mice fed the control (n-3)+ diet. The control (n-3)+ group was found to have greater situational memory than the (n-3)- group. The authors speculated that these behavioral modifications may be linked to biochemical alterations induced by the (n-3)- deficient diet. The results support numerous studies that have identified deficits in learning behavior in animals fed diets restricted in ALA.

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