[Note: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid found most plentifully in fish oil or krill oil. Neurogenesis is the birth of new nerve cells (neurites), which recent research indicates may continue in adults (in the brain, for example, supporting learning and memory). Immediate early response genes “are well known as early regulators of cell growth and differentiation signals.”]
Docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n - 3, DHA) is known to enhance neurogenesis. However, the immediate-early effect of DHA on neurogenesis is not fully elucidated. We studied the effect of DHA supplementation (10 and 30 microM) on morphological and molecular changes at different time points of nerve growth factor (NGF, 50 ng/ml)-induced differentiation of PC12 (pheochromocytoma) cells. Cells were analyzed throughout the differentiation process (2 h, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10 days), for neurite outgrowth (light microscopy and computer image analysis), and for mRNA levels of the immediate molecular differentiation markers Egr1, Egr3, PC3 and PC4 (quantitative real-time PCR).
DHA induced significant accelerated neurite outgrowth beginning as early as 2 hours post-DHA supplementation and throughout differentiation. Transcripts of the neurogenesis immediate early biomarkers Egr3 and PC3 were significantly (P < 0.05) elevated following DHA supplementation within 0.5 and 1 h post-supplementation (respectively).
In conclusion, we show that DHA significantly stimulates immediate-early neurogenesis events, as is evident by both morphological and molecular markers.
Source: Neurochemical Research, May 2009;34(5):867-75. PMID: 18781386, by Dagai L, Peri-Naor R, Birk RZ. Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. [E-mail: RZ Birk firstname.lastname@example.org]