Schuchardt JP, Huss M, Stauss-Grabo M, Hahn A. Significance of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the development and behaviour of children. Eur J Pediatr 169: 149-164

Institute of Food Science, Nutrition physiology and human nutrition unit, Leibniz University of Hanover, Am Kleinen Felde 30, 30167 Hanover, Germany.
European Journal of Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 1.89). 09/2009; 169(2):149-64. DOI: 10.1007/s00431-009-1035-8
Source: PubMed


omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a central role in the normal development and functioning of the brain and central nervous system. Long-chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5omega-3), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6omega-3) and arachidonic acid (AA, C20:4omega-6), in particular, are involved in numerous neuronal processes, ranging from effects on membrane fluidity to gene expression regulation. Deficiencies and imbalances of these nutrients, not only during the developmental phase but throughout the whole life span, have significant effects on brain function. Numerous observational studies have shown a link between childhood developmental disorders and omega-6:omega-3 fatty acid imbalances. For instance, neurocognitive disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorders are often associated with a relative lack of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to a high omega-6 fatty acid intake and, in many cases, an insufficient supply of omega-3 fatty acids among the population, evidence is increasing to suggest that PUFA metabolism can be impaired in individuals with ADHD. In this context, PUFA imbalances are being discussed as potential risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders. Another focus is whether the nutritive PUFA requirements-especially long-chain omega-3 fatty acid requirements-are higher among some individuals. Meanwhile, several controlled studies investigated the clinical benefits of LC-PUFA supplementation in affected children and adolescents, with occasionally conflicting results.

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Available from: Manuela Stauss-Grabo, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "LCPUFA are incorporated in membrane-based phospholipids of neural tissue modifying membrane integrity and fluidity (Stubbs and Smith, 1984; Suzuki et al., 1998). Functioning of transmembrane proteins, such as receptors and transporters, is affected by membrane fluidity (Schuchardt et al., 2010; Chalon, 2006). Monoaminergic neurotransmission, in particular mesocortical dopamine, was reported to alter upon changes in nutritional composition of fatty acids (Delion et al., 1994). "
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    ABSTRACT: Allergy is suggested to exacerbate impaired behaviour in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. We have previously shown that food allergy impaired social behaviour in mice. Dietary fatty acid composition may affect both the immune and nervous system. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) on food allergy-induced impaired social behaviour and associated deficits in prefrontal dopamine (DA) in mice. Mice were fed either control or n-3 LCPUFA-enriched diet before and during sensitization with whey. Social behaviour, acute allergic skin response and serum immunoglobulins were assessed. Monoamine levels were measured in brain and intestine and fatty acid content in brain. N-3 LCPUFA prevented impaired social behaviour of allergic mice. Moreover, n-3 LCPUFA supplementation increased docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) incorporation into the brain and restored reduced levels of prefrontal DA and its metabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, 3-methoxytyramine and homovanillic acid in allergic mice. In addition to these brain effects, n-3 LCPUFA supplementation reduced the allergic skin response and restored decreased intestinal levels of serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in allergic mice. N-3 LCPUFA may have beneficial effects on food allergy-induced deficits in social behaviour, either indirectly by reducing the allergic response and restoring intestinal 5-HT signalling, or directly by DHA incorporation into neuronal membranes, affecting the DA system. Therefore, it is of interest to further investigate the relevance of food allergy-enhanced impairments in social behaviour in humans and the potential benefits of dietary n-3 LCPUFA supplementation.
    Neuropharmacology 11/2014; 90. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.11.001 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    • "It is especially disconcerting in case of boys, since it is well recognised that males are at higher risk for atherosclerosis than females and the studied boys’ intakes of both total fat and saturated fatty acids (g, % of energy, g/1000 kcal) were significantly higher in comparison to girls. Moreover, inadequate intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids observed in almost all of the studied 6-year-olds may have adverse effect on their neurodevelopment [52]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The studies on dietary intake in Polish children are sparse and the information about dietary intake in 6-year-olds in Europe is limited. The published studies on dietary intake in children rarely provide information on the intake of animal protein, plant protein and water. The purpose of the study was to analyse energy and macronutrient intakes in 6-year-old children from southern Poland. Methods The studied population comprised 120 children, 64 girls and 56 boys. Energy and macronutrient intakes were estimated from a three-day food record. Weight and height were measured, and body mass index was calculated. Results Intakes of energy (kJ, kcal), plant protein (g), total fat (g), saturated fatty acids (g, % of energy, g/1000 kcal), monounsaturated fatty acids (g) and starch (g, % of energy, g/1000 kcal) were significantly higher in boys, while intakes of sucrose (% of energy, g/1000 kcal) and total water (g/1000 kcal) were significantly higher in girls. The children’s diets were characterised by excessive intake of total fat, saturated fatty acids, sucrose, and by inadequate intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, available carbohydrates and starch. Conclusions The observed adverse characteristics of the children’s diets are similar to those observed in the diets of children in other European countries and show the need to work out a common educational programme to improve nutrition in young European children. It is also important to provide the lacking information about the intake of animal protein, plant protein and water in young children.
    BMC Pediatrics 08/2014; 14(1):197. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-14-197 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Fe is a co-factor for enzymes involved in cell division and the synthesis of neurotransmitters, myelin and biologically active lipid mediators and is therefore crucial for normal brain development and functioning [3-7]. Similarly to Fe, the long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 FA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) play important roles in neuronal growth and differentiation, mainly by modulating physical properties of biological membranes and gene expression of various proteins, as well as in myelination and neurotransmission [8-11]. Therefore, a combined ID and n-3 FAD occurring early in life may exert more severe effects on brain development and functioning than an ID or n-3 FAD alone. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background We recently showed that a combined deficiency of iron (ID) and n-3 fatty acids (n-3 FAD) in rats disrupts brain monoamine metabolism and produces greater memory deficits than ID or n-3 FAD alone. Providing these double-deficient rats with either iron (Fe) or preformed docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) alone affected brain monoamine pathways differently from combined repletion and even exacerbated cognitive deficits associated with double-deficiency. Iron is a co-factor of the enzymes responsible for the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to EPA and DHA, thus, the provision of ALA with Fe might be more effective in restoring brain EPA and DHA and improving cognition in double-deficient rats than ALA alone. Methods In this study we examined whether providing double-deficient rats with ALA and Fe, alone or in combination, can correct deficits in monoamine metabolism and cognition associated with double-deficiency. Using a 2 × 2 design, male rats with concurrent ID and n-3 FAD were fed an Fe + ALA, Fe + n-3 FAD, ID + ALA, or ID + n-3 FAD diet for 5 weeks (postnatal day 56–91). Biochemical measures, and spatial working and reference memory (using the Morris water maze) were compared to age-matched controls. Results In the hippocampus, we found a significant Fe × ALA interaction on DHA: Compared to the group receiving ALA alone, DHA was significantly higher in the Fe + ALA group. In the brain, we found significant antagonistic Fe × ALA interactions on serotonin concentrations. Provision of ALA alone impaired working memory compared with age-matched controls, while in the reference memory task ALA provided with Fe significantly improved performance. Conclusion These results indicate that providing either iron or ALA alone to double-deficient rats affects serotonin pathways and cognitive performance differently from combined provision. This may be partly explained by the enhancing effect of Fe on the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA.
    Lipids in Health and Disease 06/2014; 13(1):97. DOI:10.1186/1476-511X-13-97 · 2.22 Impact Factor
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