Omega-3 Fatty Acids Prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-Induced Memory Impairment

Biomolecules. 2019 Mar 12;9(3):100. doi: 10.3390/biom9030100.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can happen after exposure to a traumatic event. Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among mental health disorders that include mood and anxiety disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids (OMGs) are essential for the maintenance of brain function and prevention of cognition dysfunctions. However, the possible effect of OMG on memory impairment induced by PTSD has not been studied. In here, such an effect was explored using a rat model of PTSD. The PTSD-like behavior was induced in animals using a single-prolonged stress (SPS) rat model of PTSD (2 h restraint, 20 min forced swimming, 15 min rest, 1⁻2 min diethyl ether exposure). The OMG was administered orally at a dose of 100 mg omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)/100 g body weight/day. Spatial learning and memory were assessed using the radial arm water maze (RAWM) method. Changes in oxidative stress biomarkers, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and brain derived neuroptrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus following treatments were measured. The results revealed that SPS impaired both short- and long-term memory (p < 0.05). Use of OMG prevented memory impairment induced by SPS. Furthermore, OMG normalized SPS induced changes in the hippocampus that reduced glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), GSH/GSSG ratios, the activity of catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and TBARSs levels. In conclusion, the SPS model of PTSD-like behavior generated memory impairment, whereas OMG prevented this impairment, possibly through normalizing antioxidant mechanisms in the hippocampus.

Keywords: learning; maze; memory; omega-3 fatty acids; oxidative stress; post-traumatic traumatic stress; single-prolonged stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3