High maternal intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy in mice alters offsprings' aggressive behavior, immobility in the swim test, locomotor activity and brain protein kinase C activity

Margarita Raygada, Elizabeth Cho, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke

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84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Populations in Western countries consume an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), even during pregnancy. Since (n-6) PUFA is critical for brain development, we studied whether a high maternal consumption of this fatty acid alters offsprings' affective-like behaviors and (n-6) PUFA- induced protein kinase C (PKC) activity in the brain. Three different strains of pregnant mice were fed isocaloric diets containing either 16% (control) or 43% (high) energy derived from fat high in (n-6) PUFA (corn oil: Balb/c and CD-1 mice, or soybean oil: C3H mice) throughout gestation. From birth onward dams and offspring were fed a nonpurified diet containing 12% energy from a variety of fats. Two- to 12-month-old female and male offspring of dams exposed to a high (n-6) PUFA diet during pregnancy were significantly more active in an open field, more aggressive in the resident-intruder test and spent less time immobile in the swim test than offspring of dams exposed to a control (n-6) PUFA diet. Significantly greater PKC activity in the hypothalamus and moderately less PKC activity in the whole brain (P = 0.10) were seen in the 2-month-old female and male high (n-6) PUFA offspring compared to controls. Our findings indicate that in utero exposure to a high (n-6) PUFA diet subsequently increases locomotor activity and aggression, and reduces immobility in the swim test. The mechanism mediating these effects may be linked to an increased PKC activity in the hypothalamus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2505-2511
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume128
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Mice
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein kinase C

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