Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in ADHD


Prof. Dr. Edna Grünblatt
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychiatric Hospital
University of Zürich




The pharmacological treatment with methylphenidate (MPH) is considered as the firs-line treatment in ADHD, while few patients remain with no beneficial effects. These patients are considered as MPH non-responders. Additionally, 60% of childhood ADHD cases persist into adulthood, leaving treatment approaches more difficult. To increase treatment success in ADHD, alternative or combined treatment, alongside with MPH treatment, may be favourable. The non-pharmacological treatment of omega-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAS) components, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), display potential candidates, as they take part in several biological processes, including inflammatory response and cellular signalling processes, such as Wnt-signalling, which is recognized to be pivotal during development. We hypothesize that ω-3 PUFA may improve Wnt signalling alterations and elicit anti-inflammatory effects in ADHD. This hypothesis is being approached by using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural precursor cells (NPC) and forebrain cortical neurons (FCNs) retrieved from ADHD patients (MPH responders, MPH non-responders and adults) and healthy individuals as control. NPCs and FCNs are treated with ω-3 PUFA components DHA and EPA with and without MPH to elucidate the evoked mechanism on a proteomic and transcriptomic level using methods such as western blot, immune- and luminescence assays, real time PCR and immunocytochemistry. Furthermore, proliferation analysis methods are being used to evaluate the cell growth rate during development in ADHD.

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