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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid improves spatial learning and hippocampal Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors (PPARα and PPARγ) gene expression in rats

Toktam Hajjar1, Goh Y Meng12*, Mohamed A Rajion1, Sharmili Vidyadaran3, Fauziah Othman4, Abdoreza S Farjam12, Tan A Li1 and Mahdi Ebrahimi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Preclinical Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

2 Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

3 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

4 Department of Human Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

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BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:109  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-109

Published: 18 September 2012

Abstract

Background

This study examined the effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) as different n-6: n-3 ratios on spatial learning and gene expression of peroxisome- proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) in the hippocampus of rats. Thirty male Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly allotted into 3 groups of ten animals each and received experimental diets with different n-6: n-3 PUFA ratios of either 65:1, 22:1 or 4.5:1. After 10 weeks, the spatial memory of the animals was assessed using the Morris Water Maze test. The expression of PPARα and PPARγ genes were determined using real-time PCR.

Results

Decreasing dietary n-6: n-3 PUFA ratios improved the cognitive performance of animals in the Morris water maze test along with the upregulation of PPARα and PPARγ gene expression. The animals with the lowest dietary n-6: n-3 PUFA ratio presented the highest spatial learning improvement and PPAR gene expression.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that modulation of n-6: n-3 PUFA ratios in the diet may lead to increased hippocampal PPAR gene expression and consequently improved spatial learning and memory in rats.

Keywords:
PUFA; n-6: n-3 PUFA ratio; Spatial learning; PPAR; Cognitive function