Myristic acid produces anxiolytic-like effects in Wistar rats in the elevated plus maze

Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:492141. doi: 10.1155/2014/492141. Epub 2014 Sep 18.


A mixture of eight fatty acids (linoleic, palmitic, stearic, myristic, elaidic, lauric, oleic, and palmitoleic acids) at similar concentrations identified in human amniotic fluid produces anxiolytic-like effects comparable to diazepam in Wistar rats. However, individual effects of each fatty acid remain unexplored. In Wistar rats, we evaluated the separate action of each fatty acid at the corresponding concentrations previously found in human amniotic fluid on anxiety-like behaviour. Individual effects were compared with vehicle, an artificial mixture of the same eight fatty acids, and a reference anxiolytic drug (diazepam, 2 mg/kg). Myristic acid, the fatty acid mixture, and diazepam increased the time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze and reduced the anxiety index compared with vehicle, without altering general locomotor activity. The other fatty acids had no effect on anxiety-like behaviour, but oleic acid reduced locomotor activity. Additionally, myristic acid produced anxiolytic-like effects only when the concentration corresponded to the one identified in human amniotic fluid (30 μg/mL) but did not alter locomotor activity. We conclude that of the eight fatty acids contained in the fatty acid mixture, only myristic acid produces anxiolytic-like effects when administered individually at a similar concentration detected in human amniotic fluid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Myristic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Myristic Acid / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Myristic Acid