The Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Neurogenesis occurs in limited areas of the adult mammalian brain, and has been reported in all mammals studied to date, including man. Hipppocampal neurogenesis is enhanced in conditions associated with enhanced synaptic plasticity and following neuronal injury, suggesting a role in cognition and brain repair.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) promote hippocampal neurogenesis in a variety of models, and there is a strong correlation between omega-3 PUFA intake and hippocampal-dependent memory tasks. Some of the most compelling evidence comes from work with the fat-1 transgenic mouse, an animal model of endogenous omega-3 PUFA enrichment. Fat-1 mice exhibit enhanced neurogenesis, with concomitant improvements in spatial memory compared to wild type mice. Thus omega-3 PUFAs positively influence neurogenesis, and these effects may contribute to improved cognitive performance. This chapter reviews the role of omega-3 PUFAs in hippocampal neurogenesis, and explores some of the potential mechanisms which may underlie the observed effects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOmega-3 Fatty Acids in Brain and Neurological Health
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-410527-0
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2014

Cite this