DHA-enriched phospholipid diets modulate age-related alterations in rat hippocampus

Neurobiol Aging. 2003 Mar-Apr;24(2):233-43. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(02)00064-7.


Our previous work on rat hippocampus showed that a loss of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) occurs in the fatty acid composition of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), plasmenylethanolamine (PmE) and phosphatidylserine (PS) with increasing age. The present study investigated whether a DHA-enriched phospholipid dietary supplement could restore DHA levels and cholinergic activity. Male rats were fed a balanced diet containing both linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids until the age of 2, 18 and 21 months. From 18 to 21 months, one subgroup received a diet supplemented with DHA-enriched phospholipids from egg yolk (E-PL), and another a diet with DHA-enriched phospholipids from pig brain (B-PL). Compared to the control diet, the E-PL diet restored the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs: 22:6n-3 and 20:4n-6) in PE and PmE, while enhancing spontaneous and evoked-acetylcholine (Ach) release. The B-PL diet had no effect on PUFAs, but increased basal extracellular levels of Ach in 21-month-old rats as compared to the age-matched control. Our results show that supplementation with DHA-enriched egg PL can enhance Ach release and correct PUFA composition.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Egg Yolk
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / pharmacology
  • Plasmalogens / metabolism
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Phospholipids
  • Plasmalogens
  • phosphatidal ethanolamines
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Acetylcholine
  • Potassium