Food and Behaviour Research

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Delayed Docosahexaenoic Acid Treatment Combined with Dietary Supplementation of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promotes Long-Term Neurovascular Restoration After Ischemic Stroke.

Pu H, Jiang X, Hu X, Xia J, Hong D, Zhang W, Gao Y, Chen J, Shi Y. (2016) Transl Stroke Res 7(6) 521-534. Epub 2016 Aug 27. 

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Prophylactic dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) has been shown to remarkably ameliorate ischemic brain injury. However, the therapeutic efficacy of n-3 PUFA administration post-stroke, especially its impact on neurovascular remodeling and long-term neurological recovery, has not been fully characterized thus far. In this study, we investigated the effect of n-3 PUFA supplementation, as well as in combination with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) injections, on long-term stroke outcomes.

Mice were subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) before randomly assigned to four groups to receive the following: (1) low dose of n-3 PUFAs as the vehicle control, (2) intraperitoneal DHA injections, (3) n-3 PUFA dietary supplement, or (4) combined treatment of (2) and (3). Neurological deficits and brain atrophy, neurogenesis, angiogenesis, and glial scar formation were assessed up to 28 days after MCAO.

Results revealed that groups 2 and 3 showed only marginal reduction in post-stroke tissue loss and attenuation of cognitive deficits. Interestingly, group 4 exhibited significantly reduced tissue atrophy and improved cognitive functions compared to groups 2 and 3 with just a single treatment. Mechanistically, the combined treatment promoted post-stroke neurogenesis and angiogenesis, as well as reduced glial scar formation, all of which significantly correlated with the improved spatial memory in the Morris water maze.

These results demonstrate an effective therapeutic regimen to enhance neurovascular restoration and long-term cognitive recovery in the mouse model of MCAO. Combined post-stroke DHA treatment and n-3 PUFA dietary supplementation thus may be a potential clinically translatable therapy for stroke or related brain disorders.