Omega-3 fatty acids protects against chronic sleep-deprivation induced memory impairment

Life Sci. 2019 Jun 15:227:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2019.04.028. Epub 2019 Apr 15.


Aims: The current study aims to evaluate the possible protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids on memory impairment induced by sleep-deprivation in rats.

Materials and methods: Animals were chronically sleep deprived using the modified multiple platform model (8 h/day for 8 weeks). Omega-3 fatty acids were administered as fish oil via oral gavage at a daily dose of 100 mg omega-3 PUFA/100 g BWT. The spatial learning and memory were evaluated using the radial arm water maze (RAWM). Additionally, the following oxidative stress biomarkers were measured in the hippocampus: glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), GSH/GSSG, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS).

Key findings: Animals in the SD group committed significantly more errors in both short- and long- term memory tests of the RAWM compared to other groups. On the other hand, animals that were sleep deprived and treated with omega-3 fatty acids committed similar number of errors compared to the control group. This indicates that SD impaired both short- and long- term memories, and that chronic omega-3 fatty acids administration prevented these effects. Omega-3 fatty acids also prevented the decreases in hippocampal GPx, catalase and GSH/GSSG ratio and normalized the increases in GSSG levels, which were impaired by SD model. No changes were observed on hippocampal TBARS levels, or activity of SOD among experimental groups.

Significance: In conclusion, a protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids administration has been observed against chronic SD-induced memory impairment probably via improving hippocampus antioxidant effects.

Keywords: Hippocampus; Memory impairment; Omega-3 fatty acids; Sleep deprivation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / physiology*
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology
  • Glutathione / analysis
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Disulfide
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Memory, Long-Term / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology
  • Superoxide Dismutase / analysis
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / analysis
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Protective Agents
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione
  • Glutathione Disulfide