[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Omega-3 (ω3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are major components of brain cells membranes. ω3 PUFA-deficient rodents exhibit severe cognitive impairments (learning, memory) that have been linked to alteration of brain glucose utilization or to changes in neurotransmission processes. ω3 PUFA supplementation has been shown to lower anxiety and to improve several cognitive parameters in rodents, while very few data are available in primates. In humans, little is known about the association between anxiety and ω3 fatty acids supplementation and data are divergent about their impact on cognitive functions. Therefore, the development of nutritional studies in non-human primates is needed to disclose whether a long-term supplementation with long-chain ω3 PUFA has an impact on behavioural and cognitive parameters, differently or not from rodents. We address the hypothesis that ω3 PUFA supplementation could lower anxiety and improve cognitive performances of the Grey Mouse Lemur (Microcebus murinus), a nocturnal Malagasy prosimian primate. Adult male mouse lemurs were fed for 5 months on a control diet or on a diet supplemented with long-chain ω3 PUFA (n = 6 per group). Behavioural, cognitive and motor performances were measured using an open field test to evaluate anxiety, a circular platform test to evaluate reference spatial memory, a spontaneous locomotor activity monitoring and a sensory-motor test. ω3-supplemented animals exhibited lower anxiety level compared to control animals, what was accompanied by better performances in a reference spatial memory task (80% of successful trials vs 35% in controls, p<0.05), while the spontaneous locomotor activity was reduced by 31% in ω3-supplemented animals (p<0.001), a parameter that can be linked with lowered anxiety. The long-term dietary ω3 PUFA supplementation positively impacts on anxiety and cognitive performances in the adult mouse lemur. The supplementation of human food with ω3 fatty acids may represent a valuable dietary strategy to improve behavioural and cognitive functions.
PLoS ONE 06/2011; 6(6):e20491. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0020491 · 3.53 Impact Factor