2000 Volume 64 Issue 11 Pages 2290-2297
The effect of the dietary linoleate (LA)/alpha-linolenate (LNA) balance during development on the brain lipid composition, reproductive outcome and behavior of rats was studied. Female rats were fed on experimental diets during pregnancy and the resulting pups for 16 weeks. The dietary LA/LNA ratios were 1.07 (LA1), 2.64 (LA2), 4.45 (LA3), 7.68 (LA4) and 10.35 (LA5). The relative content of docosahexaenoate (DHA) in the brain of pups tended to increase with decreasing LA/LNA ratio at 0 and 3 weeks, while the level of DHA was maintained constant at 16 weeks regardless of the dietary LA/LNA ratio. The learning ability was measured at 12 weeks of age, and there was no difference among the groups. In an open field test, the exploratory index was significantly lower in the LA1 group than in the LA2 group. The LA1 group had a smaller litter size and lower survival rate than the other groups. We conclude that if the diet contained appropriate amounts and balance of LA and LNA, it was possible for rats to synthesize an appropriate amount of DHA and have normal behavioral activity without DHA supplementation.
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