Dietary supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids worsens forelimb motor function after intracerebral hemorrhage in rats

Exp Neurol. 2005 Jan;191(1):119-27. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2004.09.003.


Dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids has been associated with decreased clotting ability and increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. The aim of the current study was to assess the effect of dietary supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid on functional outcome after hemorrhagic stroke. Rats were maintained on a diet containing approximately 30% of energy as either fish oil (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) or safflower oil (rich in omega-6 fatty acids) and subjected to either intracerebral hemorrhage or sham surgery. Behavioral tests, infarct measurement, and MR imaging techniques were used to assess outcome. While there was no significant difference in infarct volume between rats on different diets, animals maintained on a diet enriched with fish oil exhibited increased cerebral blood flow after surgery. These animals were significantly more impaired than rats fed the safflower-oil-enriched diet in tests of forelimb dexterity and fine motor control. These results suggest that high intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may not only increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke as shown in previous studies, but most importantly may lead to a more severe motor impairment and a poorer functional outcome after such an event.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diet therapy*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Forelimb / drug effects*
  • Forelimb / physiology
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / drug effects*
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3