Food and Behaviour Research

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Omega-3 fatty acid ethyl-eicosapentaenoate, but not soybean oil, attenuates memory impairment induced by central IL-1beta administration.

Song, C., Horrobin, D. (2004) J Lipid Res.  45(6) 1112-21. 

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Proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1beta can cause cognitive impairment, activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and impair monoaminergic neurotransmission in the rat. IL-1beta has also been shown to increase the concentration of the inflammatory mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in the blood. Omega (n)-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are components of fish oil, have been shown to reduce both the proinflammatory cytokines and the synthesis of PGE2. The purpose of this study was to determine whether dietary supplements of EPA would attenuate the inflammation-induced impairment of spatial memory by centrally administered IL-1beta. Rats were fed with a diet of coconut oil (contained a negligible quantity of fatty acids), soybean oil (contained mainly n-6 fatty acids), or a diet of coconut oil enriched with ethyl-EPA (E-EPA). The rats were then injected intracerebroventricularly with IL-1beta or saline. The results of this study demonstrated that the IL-1-induced deficit in spatial memory was correlated with an impairment of central noradrenergic and serotonergic (but not dopaminergic) function and an increase in the serum corticosterone concentration. IL-1beta also caused an increase in the hippocampal PGE2 concentration. These effects of IL-1 were attenuated by the chronic administration of E-EPA. By contrast, rats fed with the soybean oil diet showed no effect on the changes induced by the IL-1 administration.