Effect of Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid and Catechins on Maze Behavior in MiceShirai N. · Suzuki H.
National Food Research Institute, Kannondai, Tsukuba, Japan
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Background/Aims: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6 n–3) and catechins are food components that play an important role in maintaining human health. However, the effect of a simultaneous intake of DHA and catechins on brain function is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of DHA and catechins on maze behavior in mice. Method: Adult (5 months old) and old (15 months old) male mice were fed 5% lard diets containing 0 or 1.5% DHA ethyl ester (DHA-EE), either with or without 0.5% catechins, for 3.5 months. Maze behavior was assessed 3 months after the start of the feeding experiment. The time required and distance traveled to reach the maze exit, and the number of times that a mouse strayed into blind alleys in the maze were measured. The fatty acid compositions of plasma and brain lipids were measured after the maze behavior experiment. Results: Adult mice in the catechin, DHA-EE, and DHA-EE + catechin diet groups required less time and traveled a shorter distance to reach the maze exit, and strayed into blind alleys fewer times than those in the corresponding lard groups. Among old mice, the DHA-EE + catechin diet group showed an improvement in maze behavior. No marked differences in the brain fatty acid composition between lard and catechin diet groups were observed; in the DHA-EE intake groups, the brain DHA percentage was raised. Conclusion: These results suggest that a simultaneous intake of DHA and catechins may certainly enhance brain function in both adult and old mice.
© 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel
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