Several age-related changes have been identified in rat hippocampus; among these are deficits in glutamate release and long-term potentiation in dentate gyrus. These deficits correlate with a decrease in the concentration of arachidonic acid in hippocampus. In this study, the effects of dietary supplementation for 8 weeks with omega -6 or omega -3 fatty acids were assessed in groups of aged and young rats. The data presented indicate that dietary supplementation in aged rats restored the concentrations of arachidonic acid and docosahexanoic acid in hippocampal preparations to those observed in tissue prepared from young rats. In parallel, aged rats which received the experimental diets sustained long-term potentiation in a manner indistinguishable from young rats. The evidence presented supports the view that an age-related increase in reactive oxygen species production is linked with the decrease in polyunsaturated fatty acids and that a diet enriched in eicosapentanoic acid has antioxidant properties which may play a key role in reversal of the observed age-related deficits.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.