Omega-3 fatty acids prevent the ketamine-induced increase in acetylcholinesterase activity in an animal model of schizophrenia

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Abstract

Aims

Schizophrenia is a debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder that is associated with dysfunction in the cholinergic system. Early prevention is a target of treatment to improve long-term outcomes. Therefore, we evaluated the preventive effects of omega-3 fatty acids on AChE activity in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum in an animal model of schizophrenia.

Main methods

Young Wistar rats (30 days old) were initially treated with omega-3 fatty acids or vehicle alone. Animals received ketamine to induce an animal model of schizophrenia or saline plus omega-3 fatty acids or vehicle alone for 7 consecutive days beginning on day 15. A total of 22 days elapsed between the treatment and intervention. Animals were sacrificed, and brain structures were dissected to evaluate AChE activity and gene expression.

Key findings

Our results demonstrate that ketamine increased AChE activity in these three structures, and omega-3 fatty acids plus ketamine showed lower values for the studied parameters, which indicate a partial preventive mechanism of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. We observed no effect on AChE expression. Together, these results indicate that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation effectively reduced AChE activity in an animal model of schizophrenia in all studied structures. In conclusion, the present study provides evidence that ketamine and omega-3 fatty acids affect the cholinergic system, and this effect may be associated with the physiopathology of schizophrenia. Further studies are required to investigate the mechanisms that are associated with this effect.

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