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Thesis defense – Maud Martinat

16 December 2022 / 14:00

Venue: to be confirmed

Defense in french

Thesis supervisor: Sophie Layé (NutriNeuro)


Oméga 3 et troubles de l’humeur : mécanismes d’action neuroprotecteurs (Omega 3 and mood disorders, study of neuroprotective actions mechanisms)


The brain is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) whose long chains, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from omega 3 (n3), accumulate during development. Their precursors are not synthesized de novo by mammals and must be provided by food. However, it has been shown that an unbalanced and deficient maternal dietary intake of n3 PUFAs induces cognitive
and electrophysiological alterations in infants and in mouse models of nutritional deficiency.

We are interested in the impact of a nutritional intervention during development and how a diet unbalanced in n3 PUFA alters neural networks and cognition, by studying the molecular mechanisms and taking into account the gender. To this end, different models are used: 1) mice are deficient in PUFAs during development and then exposed to a diet rich in n3 PUFAs at weaning; 2) to develop a local deficiency model by viral injection blocking the expression of the elongase ELOVL2 (involved in the synthesis of longchain PUFAs) in astrocytes to assess the impact on the properties of the surrounding neurons.

Our results suggest that a change in nutritional status from deficiency to a diet rich in n3 PUFA at weaning restores 1) longterm synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus in males and females, 2) cognition as well as fatty acid levels in the brain but in a differential manner between the two sexes. In the second part of the results, a local variation of PUFA synthesis in the astrocyte modifies the excitability of neurons without modifying the levels of fatty acids in the brain structure while modifying some criteria of emotional behavior.

Key words: PUFA, developpment, cognition, neuroprotection


Pr Mélanie Plourde, Professeure, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, Rapportrice

Dr Pascale Chavis, Directrice de Recherche, Inmed, Marseille, France,   Rapportice

Dr Niyazi Acar, Directeur de Recherche, INRAE, Dijon, France, Examinateur

Pr Frédéric Calon, Professeur, Université de Laval, Canada, Président, Examinateur

Pr Richard Bazinet, Professeur Associé, Université de Toronto, Canada, Co-directeur

Dr Sophie Layé, Directrice de Recherche, INRAE, Bordeaux, France, Directrice   

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16 December 2022
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