Docosahexaenoic acid-induced changes in phospholipids in cortex of young and aged rats: a lipidomic analysis

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Oct-Nov;77(3-4):155-62. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.08.009. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


The age-related decline in cognitive function has been associated with biochemical changes that can be attenuated following n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid treatment. Dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been shown to reverse age-related changes in synaptic function. Here, lipidomic analyses were undertaken to examine changes in lipid classes and phospholipid species in cortical tissue of young (2-4 months) and aged (20-22 months), control- and DHA-treated (10mg daily) rats following treatment for 8 weeks, aiming to explore the mechanism of DHA action. Dietary supplementation normalised the age-related decrease in unsaturation index, reduced the levels of arachidonic acid-containing phospholipids in both young and aged animals, and gave rise to production of new phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylinositol species. These findings suggest that DHA may mediate some of its effects through alterations in the membrane lipid composition that can consequently affect the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and signalling molecular species.

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Phospholipids
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • 1,2-dipalmitoyl-3-phosphatidylethanolamine