Neurophysiologic and neurobehavioral evidence of beneficial effects of prenatal omega-3 fatty acid intake on memory function at school age

Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 03/2011; 93(5):1025-37. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.000323
Source: PubMed


The beneficial effects of prenatal and early postnatal intakes of omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on cognitive development during infancy are well recognized. However, few studies have examined the extent to which these benefits continue to be evident in childhood.
The aim of this study was to examine the relation of n-3 PUFAs and seafood-contaminant intake with memory function in school-age children from a fish-eating community.
In a prospective, longitudinal study in Arctic Quebec, we assessed Inuit children (n = 154; mean age: 11.3 y) by using a continuous visual recognition task to measure 2 event-related potential components related to recognition memory processing: the FN400 and the late positive component (LPC). Children were also examined by using 2 well-established neurobehavioral assessments of memory: the Digit span forward from Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children, 4th edition, and the California Verbal Learning Test-Children's Version.
Repeated-measures analyses of variance revealed that children with higher cord plasma concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is an important n-3 PUFA, had a shorter FN400 latency and a larger LPC amplitude; and higher plasma DHA concentrations at the time of testing were associated with increased FN400 amplitude. Cord DHA-related effects were observed regardless of seafood-contaminant amounts. Multiple regression analyses also showed positive associations between cord DHA concentrations and performance on neurobehavioral assessments of memory.
To our knowledge, this study provides the first neurophysiologic and neurobehavioral evidence of long-term beneficial effects of n-3 PUFA intake in utero on memory function in school-age children.

Download full-text


Available from: Dave Saint-Amour, Oct 06, 2015
38 Reads
  • Source
    • "Some nutrients found in country foods may counterbalance MeHg toxicity (Chapman and Chan, 2000). In Nunavik, high long-chain n−3 PUFA intake during pregnancy is associated with several benefits including increased birth weight, and child's visual and memory functions (Boucher et al., 2011; Jacques et al., 2011; Lucas et al., 2004) and a lower prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among adults (Ayotte et al., 2011; Dewailly et al., 2001b; Valera et al., 2009, 2011). High dietary Se intake may also contribute to offset some Hg-toxic effects among adults in Nunavik and other fish-eating populations (Ayotte et al., 2011; Fillion et al., 2013; Lemire et al., 2010b, 2011; Valera et al., 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Country foods are central to Inuit culture and replete in selenium (Se) and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA). However, some marine country foods bioaccumulate high concentrations of methylmercury (MeHg). Se and n-3 are associated with several health benefits in Nunavik, Northern Quebec, but, recent studies show that prenatal MeHg exposure is associated with visual, cognitive and behavioral deficit later in childhood. The study objectives are to identify contemporary country food sources of MeHg, Se and long-chain n-3 PUFA in Nunavik, particularly among childbearing-age women, taking into account regional differences in consumption profiles. The contribution of different country foods to daily MeHg, Se, long-chain n-3 PUFA intake (μg/kg body weight/day) was estimated using: (i) country food consumption and blood biomarkers data from the 2004 Nunavik Health Survey (387 women, 315 men), and (ii) data on MeHg, Se, long-chain n-3 PUFA concentrations found in Nunavik wildlife species. In the region where most traditional beluga hunting takes place in Nunavik, the prevalence of at-risk blood Hg (≥8μg/L) in childbearing-age women was 78.4%. While most country foods presently consumed contain low MeHg, beluga meat, not a staple of the Inuit diet, is the most important contributor to MeHg: up to two-thirds of MeHg intake in the beluga-hunting region (0.66 of MeHg intake) and to about one-third in other regions. In contrast, seal liver and beluga mattaaq - beluga skin and blubber - only mildly contributed to MeHg (between 0.06 and 0.15 of MeHg intake), depending on the region. Beluga mattaaq also highly contributed to Se intake (0.30 of Se intake). Arctic char, beluga blubber and mattaaq, and seal blubber contributed to most long-chain n-3 PUFA intake. This study highlights the importance of considering interconnections between local ecosystems and dietary habits to develop recommendations and interventions promoting country foods' benefits, while minimizing the risk of MeHg from beluga meat, especially for childbearing-age women.
    Science of The Total Environment 08/2014; 509-510. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.07.102 · 4.10 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Many women now use alternative therapies for postmenopausal health including dietary soy and isoflavone supplements instead of, or in addition to, traditional hormone therapy (Newton et al., 2002; Kurzer, 2003). Moreover, n − 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been suggested as being involved in the development and maintenance of learning memory performance (Gamoh et al., 1999; Hashimoto et al., 2009a, 2011; Dyall et al., 2010; Boucher et al., 2011). The n− 3 PUFAs ameliorated endothelial dysfunction in diabetic rats (Matsumoto et al., 2009), and led to attenuation of the contractile responses of isolated resistance arteries (MacLeod et al., 1994). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aims To investigate effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on cerebral circulation, ovariectomized (OVX) rats were administered phospholipids in krill oil (KPL) or triglycerides in fish oil (FTG); effects on the Ca2 + regulating system in their basilar artery (BA) were then analyzed. Main methods The rats were divided into 4 groups: control, OVX, OVX given KPL (OVXP), and OVX given FTG (OVXT) orally, daily for 2 weeks. Time dependent relaxation (TDR) of contractile response to 5HT in BA was determined myographically, Na+/Ca2 + exchanger (NCX) 1 mRNA expression was determined by real time PCR, and nucleotides were analyzed by HPLC. Key findings The level of TDR in OVX that was significantly lower than in the control, was inhibited by L-NAME and indomethacin; TEA inhibited TDR totally in the control but only partly in OVXP and OVXT. Relaxation induced by the addition of 5 mM of KCl to the BA pre-contracted with 5-HT was inhibited by TEA in the controls, OVXP and OVXT, but not in OVX. Overexpression of NCX1 mRNA in the BA from OVX was significantly inhibited by FTG. The ratio of ADP/ATP in cerebral arteries from OVX was significantly inhibited by KPL and FTG. Levels of triglyceride and arachidonic acid in the plasma of OVX increased, but were significantly inhibited by KPL and FTG. Significance Ovarian dysfunction affects Ca2 + activated-, ATP-sensitive- K+ channels and NCX1, which play crucial roles in the autoregulation of cerebral blood flow. Also, KPL may become as good a supplement as FTG for postmenopausal women.
    Life sciences 03/2014; 100(1). DOI:10.1016/j.lfs.2014.01.070 · 2.70 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "The assessment of the adverse effects of contaminants in fish-eating populations is complicated by the fact that contaminated marine foods are also often rich in beneficial nutrients, such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) and selenium (Se). We have previously reported evidence of beneficial effects on development attributable to prenatal n-3 PUFA intake in this cohort (Boucher et al. 2011; Jacobson et al. 2008), which could obscure adverse effects of seafood contaminants. Se may mitigate the effects of Hg (Ganther et al. 1972; Jacobson 1992; Watanabe et al. 1999). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), methylmercury (MeHg), and lead (Pb) are environmental contaminants known for their adverse effects on cognitive development. This study examined the effects of prenatal exposure to PCBs, MeHg, and Pb on cognitive development in a sample of Inuit infants from Arctic Québec. Mothers were recruited at local prenatal clinics. PCBs, mercury (Hg), Pb, and two seafood nutrients, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and selenium (Se), were measured in umbilical cord blood. Infants (N = 94) were assessed at 6.5 and 11 months on the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence (FTII), A-not-B test, and Bayley Scales of Infant Development-2nd Edition (BSID-II). Multiple regression analyses revealed that higher prenatal PCB exposure was associated with decreased FTII novelty preference, indicating impaired visual recognition memory. Prenatal Hg was associated with poorer performance on A-not-B, which depends on working memory and is believed to be a precursor of executive function. Prenatal Pb was related to longer FTII fixation durations, indicating slower speed of information processing. PCBs, MeHg, and Pb each showed specific and distinct patterns of adverse associations with the outcomes measured during infancy. By contrast, none of these exposures was associated with performance on the BSID-II, a global developmental measure. The more focused, narrow band measures of cognitive function that appeared to be sensitive to these exposures also provide early indications of long-term impairment in specific domains that would otherwise not likely be evident until school age.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 01/2014; 122(3). DOI:10.1289/ehp.1206323 · 7.98 Impact Factor
Show more