Perinatal exposure to omega-3 fatty acid imbalance leads to early behavioral alterations in rat pups.

Research paper by Paola P Colucci, Valentina V De Castro, Andrea A Peloso, Marta M Splendori, Viviana V Trezza, Patrizia P Campolongo

Indexed on: 04 Jun '20Published on: 04 Jun '20Published in: Behavioural Brain Research


Polyunsaturated long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (n3-PUFAs) are crucially involved in brain development and function. Inadequate n3-PUFA intake in rats during the perinatal period leads to behavioral deficits in adulthood, but early behavioral changes have not yet been investigated. The present study aimed to investigate potential behavioral alterations in neonatal rats exposed to a perinatal n3-PUFA imbalance. Female Sprague Dawley rats were fed an n3-PUFA-enriched or an n3-PUFA-deficient diet throughout mating, pregnancy, and lactation. Controls were fed an n6/n3-PUFA-balanced diet. We observed maternal behavior from postnatal day (PND) 2 to PND 13 and tested pups in the isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalization (USV) emission task at PNDs 3, 5, 9 and 13 to evaluate the impact of perinatal n3-PUFA on early emotional traits. Both the n3-PUFA-enriched and n3-PUFA-deficient diets profoundly decreased maternal behavior. At PNDs 3 and PND 5, pups of the n3-PUFA-deficient or -enriched diet groups emitted significantly fewer USVs compared with control pups. Further, the sonographic pattern of the USVs was altered in the test pups compared with the control pups at PND 9 and PND 13. The present findings indicate that both n3-PUFA deficiency and supplementation induce alterations in mother-infant interaction and early behavioral disturbances in the offspring. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.