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Does supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid during lactation prevent the behavioural and hormonal effects of long maternal separation in mothers and offspring?

Grant number: 07/06163-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2008
Effective date (End): February 28, 2010
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology
Principal Investigator:Deborah Suchecki
Grantee:Janaína da Silva Rocha
Home Institution: Departamento de Psicobiologia. Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Several studies have shown that fatty acids, specially omega-3 or n-3, are important for structural maintenance of the central nervous system during development. Thus, the present proposal seeks to investigate whether supplementation with omega-3 is capable to prevent or reduce the effects of long maternal separation (LMS) in mothers and their offspring, by examining the behavior and hormone response to stress. The LMS is a stressor for both mothers and pups. Pregnant Wistar female rats will be distributed in 4 groups: 1) Control (CTL) + Regular diet; 2) CTL + fish oil (omega-3); Maternal Separation for 6h (LMS) + regular diet (LMS); 4) LMS + omega-3. Supplementation will take place during lactation, beginning after birth, from post-natal day 1 to 21. On pnd 22 (24h after weaning) mothers will be submitted to the elevated plus maze (EPM) and the forced swimming test (FST). The male and female offspring will be tested on pnd 83, at the same behavioural tests. Before being tested (Basal) and after exposure to the behavioural tests (15 and 60 min), blood samples will be collected from the tip of the tail for determination of corticosterone response to the psychological stressors (EPM and FST).