Among environmental factors that may affect on brain function, some nutrients and particularly n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) are required for optimal brain development. Their effects on cognitive functions, however, are still unclear, and studies in humans and rodents have yielded contradictory results. We used a non-human primate model, the grey mouse lemur, phylogenetically close to human. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the impact of n-3 PUFA supplementation on cognitive functions, neuronal activity and neurogenesis. Two groups of animals whose diet was supplemented with either fish oil (rich in n-3 PUFA) or olive oil as a control. These two groups were subjected to a visual discrimination task and to a test of anxiety in the open-field. In parallel, cortical activity was measured with telemetric ECoG recordings. Finally, adult neurogenesis was investigated ex vivo by means of immunohistochemistry. Animals supplemented with fish oil exhibited better visual discrimination performance and tended to have lower anxiety levels. Furthermore, supplementation increased the power of alpha, beta and gamma frequency bands in the EEG, which are related to various aspects of memory and decision-making. This study also provides the first evidence of the existence of adult neurogenesis process in a prosimian primate. Notably, lemurs supplemented with n-3 PUFAs for 21 months exhibited a higher number of newly born neurons in brain areas related to memory and emotions, compared to control animals. Altogether, these results point to long-term positive effects of dietary n-3 PUFAs on various functions of the primate brain. Further studies will be needed to determine a formal causal link between behavioral improvement and creation of new neurons.

Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on cognitive functions, electrocortical activity and neurogenesis in a non-human primate, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)

Del Gallo, Federico;Bertini, Giuseppe;
2018-01-01

Abstract

Among environmental factors that may affect on brain function, some nutrients and particularly n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) are required for optimal brain development. Their effects on cognitive functions, however, are still unclear, and studies in humans and rodents have yielded contradictory results. We used a non-human primate model, the grey mouse lemur, phylogenetically close to human. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the impact of n-3 PUFA supplementation on cognitive functions, neuronal activity and neurogenesis. Two groups of animals whose diet was supplemented with either fish oil (rich in n-3 PUFA) or olive oil as a control. These two groups were subjected to a visual discrimination task and to a test of anxiety in the open-field. In parallel, cortical activity was measured with telemetric ECoG recordings. Finally, adult neurogenesis was investigated ex vivo by means of immunohistochemistry. Animals supplemented with fish oil exhibited better visual discrimination performance and tended to have lower anxiety levels. Furthermore, supplementation increased the power of alpha, beta and gamma frequency bands in the EEG, which are related to various aspects of memory and decision-making. This study also provides the first evidence of the existence of adult neurogenesis process in a prosimian primate. Notably, lemurs supplemented with n-3 PUFAs for 21 months exhibited a higher number of newly born neurons in brain areas related to memory and emotions, compared to control animals. Altogether, these results point to long-term positive effects of dietary n-3 PUFAs on various functions of the primate brain. Further studies will be needed to determine a formal causal link between behavioral improvement and creation of new neurons.
n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; non-human primate model; cognitive functions; supplementation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/977439
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