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N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids promote astrocyte differentiation and neurotrophin production independent of cAMP in patient-derived neural stem cells

By Jiang-Zhou Yu, Jennifer Wang, Steven D Sheridan, Roy H. Perlis, Mark M. Rasenick

Posted 23 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.22.916130 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41380-020-0786-5)

Evidence from epidemiological and laboratory studies, as well as randomized placebo-controlled trials, suggests supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be efficacious for treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The mechanisms underlying n-3 PUFAs potential therapeutic properties remain unknown. There are suggestions in the literature that glial hypofunction is associated with depressive symptoms and that antidepressants may normalize glial function. In this study, iPSC-derived neuronal stem cell lines were generated from individuals with MDD. Astrocytes differentiated from patient-derived neuronal stem cells (iNSCs) were verified by GFAP. Cells were treated with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and stearic acid (SA). During astrocyte differentiation, we found that n-3 PUFAs increased GFAP expression and GFAP positive cell formation. BDNF and GDNF production were increased in the astrocytes derived from patients subsequent to n-3 PUFA treatment. Stearic Acid (SA) treatment did not have this effect. CREB activity (phosphorylated CREB) was also increased by DHA and EPA but not by SA. Furthermore, when these astrocytes were treated with n-3 PUFAs, the cAMP antagonist, RP-cAMPs did not block n-3 PUFA CREB activation. However, the CREB specific inhibitor (666-15) diminished BDNF and GDNF production induced by n-3 PUFA, suggesting CREB dependence. Together, these 47 results suggested that n-3 PUFAs facilitate astrocyte differentiation, and may mimic effects of some antidepressants by increasing production of neurotrophic factors. The CREB-dependence and cAMP independence of this process suggests a manner in which n-3 PUFA could augment antidepressant effects. These data also suggest a role for astrocytes in both MDD and antidepressant action.

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