The Antipsychotic Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Rats

Am J Med Sci. 2015 Sep;350(3):212-7. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0000000000000531.


Background: In humans, omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for cell membranes, brain function and nerve transmission continuation. When animals are exposed to a new environment-or as a result of an apomorphine application that creates an agonistic effect on D1 and D2 receptors-they display behavioral reactions like rearing and stereotypy. This study aims to reveal the possible antipsychotic and oxidative effects of omega-3 fatty acids by comparing with chlorpromazine, a conventional antipsychotic drug, through evaluating the novelty-induced rearing and apomorphine-induced stereotypic behaviors, as well as malondialdehyde and glutathione levels in rats.

Methods: Twenty-eight, adult, male, Wistar rats were used in the study. Briefly, 4 groups of rats (n = 7) were administered docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) + eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (300 mg/kg; DHA: 120 mg/kg + EPA: 180 mg/kg intraperitoneally [IP]), DHA + EPA (150 mg/kg; DHA: 60 mg/kg + EPA: 90 mg/kg IP), chlorpromazine (1 mg/kg, IP) and isotonic saline (1 mL/kg, IP). One hour later, apomorphine (2 mg/kg, subcutaneously) was administered to each rat. After the apomorphine administration, rats were observed for stereotypic behavior.

Results: This study shows that omega-3 fatty acids, "similar to antipsychotics," reversed the psychotic like effects, increase of oxidants and decrease of antioxidants that are composed experimentally in rats.

Conclusions: The application of omega-3 fatty acids has antipsychotic effects and causes an oxidative imbalance. This study adds new evidence to the current literature regarding the possible antipsychotic effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chlorpromazine / pharmacology*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stereotyped Behavior / drug effects*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Glutathione
  • Apomorphine
  • Chlorpromazine