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Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra, brain inflammatory response and behavior in mice with Parkinson’s disease

Zhaowen Zhang
Sisi Wang
Chengyan Li


Purpose: To examine the effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra, intracerebral inflammatory response and ethology in mice with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Methods: Four groups of male C57BL/6 mice (n = 48) were used: normal control, negative control, n3PUFA, and Madopa groups. Except for normal control group, all groups were given 6- hydroxydopamine hydrochloride (6-OHDA) to establish Parkinson’s mice model. The expressions of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and calcium-binding protein (CB) in substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons were determined with immunohistochemistry and Western blot. The contents of nitric oxide (NO), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) and interferon γ (IFN-γ) (indices of intracerebral inflammatory response) were measured. Tremor paralysis, moving grid number, standing times, swimming ability, and the number of rollers in each group were observed as indices of ethology.

Results: The number of TH and CB-positive neurons in the substantia nigra of n-3PUFA-treated mice was significantly increased, relative to those in Madopa-treated mice (p < 0.05). The expressions of TH and CB proteins in substantia nigra in n-3PUFA group were markedly higher than the corresponding expressions in Madopa-treated mice (p < 0.05). Decreased levels of NO, TNF-α and IFN-γ levels were seen in 3PUFA group, when compared to mice in Madopa group, but higher behavioral scores were obtained in n-3PUFA-treated mice, relative to Madopa-treated mice (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The n-3PUFAs protect substantia nigra compact dopaminergic neurons against Parkinson’s disease, alleviate immune inflammation, and improve the coordination of limb movement. Thus, n-3PUFAs have potential therapeutic application in the management of Parkinson’s disease.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996