Food and Behaviour Research

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DHA supplementation enhances high-frequency, stimulation-induced synaptic transmission in mouse hippocampus

Connor S, Tenorio G, Clandinin MT, SauvĂ© Y (2012) Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Jun 20   

Web URL: View this and related abstracts on PubMed here


While some studies on dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) have reported a beneficial effect on memory as a function of age, others have failed to find any effect. To clarify this issue, we sought to determine whether supplementing mice with a DHA-enriched diet could alter the ability of synapses to undergo activity-dependent changes in the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in forming new spatial memories. We found that DHA was increased by 29% ± 5% (mean ± SE) in the hippocampus for the supplemented (DHA+) versus nonsupplemented (control) group (n = 5 mice per group; p < 0.05). Such DHA elevation was associated with enhanced synaptic transmission (p < 0.05) as assessed by application of a high-frequency electrical stimulation protocol (100 Hz stimulation, which induced transient (synaptic strength) to slices from DHA+ (n = 4 mice) hippocampi when compared with controls (n = 4 mice). Increased synaptic responses were evident 60 min poststimulation. These results suggest that dietary DHA supplementation facilitates synaptic plasticity following brief high-frequency stimulation. This increase in synaptic transmission might provide a physiological correlation for the improved spatial learning and memory observed following DHA supplementation.