Omega-3 fatty acids have antidepressant activity in forced swimming test in Wistar rats
Lakhwani L, Tongia SK, Pal VS, Agrawal RP, Nyati P, Phadnis P.
Department of Pharmacology,
M.G.M Medical College,
Indore and MY Group of Hospitals, Indore, India.
Acta Pol Pharm. 2007 May-Jun;64(3):271-6.


Forced swimming test is used to induce a characteristic behavior of immobility in rats, which resembles depression in humans to some extent. We evaluated the effect of omega-3 fatty acids alone as well as compared it with the standard antidepressant therapy with fluoxetine in both acute and chronic studies. In both the studies, rats were divided into 4 groups and subjected to the following drug interventions - Group 1- control: Group 2- fluoxetine in dose of 10 mg/kg subcutaneously 23.5, 5 and 1 h before the test: Group 3- omega-3 fatty acids in dose of 500 mg/kg orally; Group 4- fluoxetine plus omega-3 fatty acids both. In acute study, omega-3 fatty acids were given in single dose 2 h prior to the test while in chronic study omega-3 fatty acids were given daily for a period of 28 days. All animals were subjected to a 15-min pretest followed 24 h later by a 5-min test. A time sampling method was used to score the behavioral activity in each group. The results revealed that in acute study, omega-3 fatty acids do not have any significant effect in forced swimming test. However, in chronic study, omega-3 fatty acids affect the immobility and swimming behavior significantly when compared with control (p < 0.01) without any significant effect on climbing behavior and the efficacy of combination of omega-3 fatty acids and fluoxetine is significantly more than that of fluoxetine alone in changing the behavioral activity of rats in forced swimming test. It leads to the conclusion that omega-3 fatty acids have antidepressant activity per se, and the combination of fluoxetine and omega-3 fatty acids has more antidepressant efficacy than fluoxetine alone in forced swimming test in Wistar rats.
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