Déterminer les facteurs qui influencent l'efficacité des acides gras oméga-3 à prévenir le déclin cognitif au cours du vieillissement


Mélanie Plourde

Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement du CSSS-IUGS


Domaine : Nutrition et métabolisme

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2016-2017

There is no drug available to treat or delay onset of cognitive decline putting prevention strategies at cornerstones. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake seems to be efficient in animal studies to prevent onset of cognitive decline but there is controversy towards this strategy in humans. Major differences between human and animal trials are the duration (entire life vs months to years) and time of onset of the supplementation (early vs late). My hypothesis is that DHA plays a role in human brain functions and cognition but this is conditional to DHA efficacy. My results showed that DHA efficacy is modulated by factors such as aging and carrying epsilon 4 allele of apolipoprotein E (E4+), the most important genetic risk factor of Alzheimer's disease.

From this new starting point, I aim to answer these questions: what are the conditions needed to achieve efficacy, by which mechanisms could DHA supplementation benefit human brain function, does it necessarily involve cerebrovascular health? For this, we will complete our current randomized control trial (300 participants), we will test whether there are breakdown in the cerebrovascular system of E4+ mice during aging and we will test the relation between DHA supplementation and cerebral oxygenation and vascular functions in humans.

This program will generate the basic science on brain function in relation to DHA levels in the two populations (E4+ and aging people) most at risk of AD and for which DHA kinetics are disrupted. In the end, we hope to delay onset of cognitive decline and add quality of life to years.