Combined deficiency of iron and (n-3) fatty acids in male rats disrupts brain monoamine metabolism and produces greater memory deficits than iron deficiency or (n-3) fatty acid deficiency alone

Jeannine Baumgartner, Cornelius M Smuts, Linda Malan, Myrtha Arnold, Benjamin K Yee, Laura E Bianco, Mark V Boekschoten, Michael Müller, Wolfgang Langhans, Richard F Hurrell, Michael B Zimmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Deficiencies of iron (Fe) (ID) and (n-3) fatty acids (FA) [(n-3)FAD] may impair brain development and function through shared mechanisms. However, little is known about the potential interactions between these 2 common deficiencies. We studied the effects of ID and (n-3)FAD, alone and in combination, on brain monoamine pathways (by measuring monoamines and related gene expression) and spatial working and reference memory (by Morris water maze testing). Using a 2 × 2 design, male rats were fed an ID, (n-3)FAD, ID+(n-3)FAD, or control diet for 5 wk postweaning (postnatal d 21-56) after (n-3)FAD had been induced over 2 generations. The (n-3)FAD and ID diets decreased brain (n-3) FA by 70-76% and Fe by 20-32%, respectively. ID and (n-3)FAD significantly increased dopamine (DA) concentrations in the olfactory bulb (OB) and striatum, with an additive 1- to 2-fold increase in ID+(n-3)FAD rats compared with controls (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1471
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Animal Feed
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Brain
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Iron
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory Disorders
  • Phospholipids
  • Protein Array Analysis
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats

Cite this