Effects of omega-3 dietary supplement in prevention of positive, negative and cognitive symptoms: a study in adolescent rats with ketamine-induced model of schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2012 Nov;141(2-3):162-7. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


Omega-3 has shown efficacy to prevent schizophrenia conversion in ultra-high risk population. We evaluated the efficacy of omega-3 in preventing ketamine-induced effects in an animal model of schizophrenia and its effect on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Omega-3 or vehicle was administered in Wistar male rats, both groups at the 30th day of life for 15days. Each group was split in two to receive along the following 7days ketamine or saline. Locomotor and exploratory activities, memory test and social interaction between pairs were evaluated at the 52nd day of life. Prefrontal-cortex, hippocampus and striatum tissues were extracted right after behavioral tasks for mRNA BDNF expression analysis. Bloods for serum BDNF were withdrawn 24h after the end of behavioral tasks. Locomotive was increased in ketamine-treated group compared to control, omega-3 and ketamine plus omega-3 groups. Ketamine group had fewer contacts and interaction compared to other groups. Working memory and short and long-term memories were significantly impaired in ketamine group compared to others. Serum BDNF levels were significantly higher in ketamine plus omega-3 group. There was no difference between groups in prefrontal-cortex, hippocampus and striatum for mRNA BDNF expression. Administration of omega-3 in adolescent rats prevents positive, negative and cognitive symptoms in a ketamine animal model of schizophrenia. Whether these findings are consequence of BDNF increase it is unclear. However, this study gives compelling evidence for larger clinical trials to confirm the use of omega-3 to prevent schizophrenia and for studies to reinforce the beneficial role of omega-3 in brain protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / toxicity
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Ketamine / toxicity
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Schizophrenia / chemically induced
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / diet therapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ketamine