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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 8574830, 9 pages
Research Article

Nutritional Omega-3 Deficiency Alters Glucocorticoid Receptor-Signaling Pathway and Neuronal Morphology in Regionally Distinct Brain Structures Associated with Emotional Deficits

1INRA, Nutrition et Neurobiologie Intégrée, UMR 1286, 33076 Bordeaux, France
2Univ. Bordeaux, Nutrition et Neurobiologie Intégrée, UMR 1286, 33076 Bordeaux, France
3Brain Mind Institute, School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1050 Lausanne, Switzerland
4INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, UMR 862, 33077 Bordeaux, France
5Univ. Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, UMR 862, 33077 Bordeaux, France

Received 25 June 2015; Revised 7 October 2015; Accepted 19 October 2015

Academic Editor: Laura Musazzi

Copyright © 2016 Thomas Larrieu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.