In male rats with concurrent iron and (n-3) fatty acid deficiency, provision of either iron or (n-3) fatty acids alone alters monoamine metabolism and exacerbates the cognitive deficits associated with combined deficiency

Jeannine Baumgartner, Cornelius M. Smuts, Linda Malan, Myrtha Arnold, Kay Yan Benjamin Yee, Laura E. Bianco, Mark V. Boekschoten, Michael Müller, Wolfgang Langhans, Richard F. Hurrell, Michael B. Zimmermann

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Concurrent deficiencies of iron (Fe) (ID) and (n-3) fatty acids [(n-3)FAD)] in rats can alter brain monoamine pathways and impair learning and memory. We examined whether repletion with Fe and DHA/EPA, alone and in combination, corrects the deficits in brain monoamine activity (by measuring monoamines and related gene expression) and spatial working and reference memory [byMorris watermaze (MWM) testing] associated with deficiency. Using a 23 2 design, male rats with concurrent ID and (n-3) FAD [ID+(n-3)FAD] were fed an Fe+DHA/EPA, Fe+(n-3)FAD, ID+DHA/EPA, or ID+(n-3)FAD diet for 5 wk [postnatal d 56-91]. Biochemical measures and MWM performance after repletion were compared to age-matched control rats. The provision of Fe in combination with DHA/EPA synergistically increased Fe concentrations in the olfactory bulb (OB) (Fe x DHA/EPA interaction). Similarly, provision of DHA/EPA in combination with Fe resulted in higher brain DHA concentrations than provision of DHA alone in the frontal cortex (FC) and OB (P < 0.05). Dopamine (DA) receptor D1 was upregulated in the hippocampus of Fe+DHA/EPA rats (fold-change = 1.25; P < 0.05) and therewere significant Fe x DHA/EPA interactions on serotonin (5-HT) in the OBand on the DAmetabolite dihydroxyphenylacetic acid in the FC and striatum. Workingmemory performance was impaired in ID+DHA/EPA rats comparedwith controls (P < 0.05). In the referencememory task, Fe+DHA/EPA improved learning behavior, but Fe or DHA/EPA alone did not. These findings suggest that feeding either Fe or DHA/EPA alone to adult rats with both ID and (n-3)FAD affects the DA and 5-HT pathways differently than combined repletion and exacerbates the cognitive deficits associated with combined deficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1472-1478
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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