Nutritional Omega-3 Deficiency Alters Glucocorticoid Receptor-Signaling Pathway and Neuronal Morphology in Regionally Distinct Brain Structures Associated with Emotional Deficits
Extensive evidence suggests that long term dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) deficiency results in altered emotional behaviour. We have recently demonstrated that n-3 PUFAs deficiency induces emotional alterations through abnormal corticosterone secretion which leads to altered dendritic arborisation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Here we show that hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis feedback inhibition was not compromised in n-3 deficient mice. Rather, glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling pathway was inactivated in the PFC but not in the hippocampus of n-3 deficient mice. Consequently, only dendritic arborisation in PFC was affected by dietary n-3 PUFAs deficiency. In addition, occlusion experiment with GR blockade altered GR signaling in the PFC of control mice, with no further alterations in n-3 deficient mice. In conclusion, n-3 PUFAs deficiency compromised PFC, leading to dendritic atrophy, but did not change hippocampal GR function and dendritic arborisation. We argue that this GR sensitivity contributes to n-3 PUFAs deficiency-related emotional behaviour deficits.