Purpose: Recent studies have revealed that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have anticonvulsive properties. Clinical trials using PUFAs reported conflicting results. It was suggested that PUFAs have anticonvulsant effects via modifications of brain phospholipids. Moreover, some authors suggested that the effect of the ketogenic diet (KD) leads to a high PUFA content. The aim of the study was to evaluate the anticonvulsant properties of a mixture containing α-linolenic acid (ALA) and linolenic acid (LA).
Methods: Four-week-old male Wistar rats were fed one of the following diets for 30 days: KD, standard diet, and standard diet with daily LA/ALA oral supplementation. Pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) threshold was used to assess the anticonvulsive effects of the diets. Nutritional status was monitored by body composition evaluation. Fatty acids composition of both plasma and brain phospholipids were also assessed.
Results: Animals fed the KD and those who had the daily LA/ALA supplementation exhibited an increase in PTZ threshold. The animals did not show any modification of body composition or brain phospholipid composition. The plasma fatty acids composition was modified by KD and LA/ALA. A decrease in arachidonic acid (AA) concentrations was observed in both the KD and LA/ALA groups, while an increase in eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and ALA concentrations was only observed in the LA/ALA group.
Conclusions: Our study shows that LA/ALA supplementation exerts anticonvulsive properties comparable to KD. Nutritional status can not explain the anticonvulsive effects of PUFAs supplementation. Brain phospholipids were not different within groups. The anticonvulsive effects of LA supplementation seem to be unrelated to brain phospholipid composition.