Depression may be associated with impaired membrane PUFA composition, especially decreased n-3 PUFA.
This assumption has not been tested at the level of brain tissue. Moreover, most studies were confounded by dietary variability.

We examined the FA composition of selected brain areas in an animal model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rat, and compared the findings with those in controls fed identical diets.

In all brain regions studied, the concentration of arachidonic acid (AA) was significantly higher in the FSL rats: in the hypothalamus by 21%, in the nucleus accumbens by 24%, in the prefrontal cortex by 31%, and in the striatum by 23%.
No significant differences were observed for n-3 PUFA or for the saturated and monounsaturated FAs.

Our results confirm the existence of altered brain PUFA composition in an animal model of depression.

The finding of increased AA, an n-6 PUFA, rather than decreased n-3 PUFA, emphasizes the importance of both PUFA families in the pathophysiological processes underlying depression.

The FSL rat is a useful tool for further elucidation of the FA disturbances in depression.