*Biological Psychiatry* (Volume 62, Issue 1, July
2007) includes a study: “Selective Deficits in the Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Docosahexaenoic Acid in the Postmortem Orbitofrontal Cortex of Patients
with Major Depressive Disorder.”
The article is by Robert K. McNamara, Chang-Gyu Hahn, Ronald Jandacek,
Therese Rider, Patrick Tso, Kevin E. Stanford, & Neil M. Richtanda.
Here’s the abstract:
Epidemiological surveys and peripheral tissue (red blood cells/plasma)
fatty acid composition studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acid
deficiency is associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and
suicide. It was hypothesized that patients with MDD would exhibit lower
frontal cortical concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the
principal omega-3 fatty acid in brain, relative to normal controls.
We determined the total fatty acid composition of postmortem
orbitofrontal cortex (Brodman’s Area 10) from patients with DSM-IV-
defined MDD (n = 15) and age-matched normal controls (n = 27) by gas
After correction for multiple comparisons, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA
was the only fatty acid that was significantly different (-22%) in the
postmortem orbitofrontal cortex of MDD patients relative to normal
controls. Deficits in DHA concentrations were greater in female MDD
patients (-32%) than in male MDD patients (-16%), and could not be
wholly attributed to lifestyle factors or postmortem tissue variables.
These results demonstrate a selective deficit in the omega-3 fatty acid
DHA in the orbitofrontal cortex of patients with MDD. This finding adds
to a growing body of evidence implicating omega-3 fatty acid deficiency
as well as the orbitofrontal cortex in the pathophysiology and
potentially pathogenesis of MDD.
The author note states that reprint requests may be sent to Robert K.
McNamara, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati
College of Medicine, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0559; email: