Food and Behaviour Research

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Delayed cell migration in the developing rat brain following maternal omega 3 alpha linolenic acid dietary deficiency

Yavin E, Himovichi E, Eilam R. (2009) Neuroscience 162(4) 1011-22. Epub 2009 May 14. 

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Diminished levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (FA) synthesized from alpha linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3), have been implicated in changes in neurotransmitter production, ion channel disruption and impairments of a variety of cognitive, behavioral and motor functions in the perinatal and adult mammal. Neuronal migration in the cortex and hippocampus of newborn and postnatal rats after ALA-deficiency, beginning on the 2nd day after conception and continuing for three weeks, was investigated. A marked decrease in the migration of bromodeoxyuridine((+))/neuronal nuclei((+))/neurofilament((+)) and glia fibrillary acidic protein((-)) neuronal cells to the dense cortical plate was accompanied by a corresponding abundance of non-migrating cells in several regions such as cortical layers IV-VI, corpus callosum and the sub-ventricular zone of ALA-deficient newborns. Similarly, a delayed migration of cells to CA1 and dentate gyrus areas was noticed while most cells were retained in the subicular area adjacent to the hippocampus. The reversibility of delay in migration in the hippocampus and cortex, after one and two weeks respectively, may be attributed to a temporary reelin disorganization or partial deficiency. Transient obstruction of neuronal cell migration may have long-lasting consequences on the organization of neuronal assemblies, on the connection between neurons (lateral connections) and acquisition of function in the adult brain.