To examine the concentrations of ω-3 and ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in serum obtained from nonpatient community volunteers not selected for hypercholesterolemia. Previously we reported that the relative concentrations of ω-3 and ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in serum covary with depressive symptomatology and neuroticism in hypercholesterolemic adults.
A total of 116 adults without current Axis I psychopathology completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the NEO Personality Inventory—Revised (NEO-PI-R). Fasting serum phospholipid eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA) were determined (% of total pool).
Higher AA and AA:EPA ratio, adjusted for age, gender, and race, were associated with greater depressive symptomatology (BDI score of ≥10). Lower EPA, and higher AA, AA:EPA ratio and AA:DHA ratio were associated with greater NEO-PI-R Neuroticism. The six Neuroticism subscales were each associated with two or more fatty acid measurements.
In conjunction with other reports, these findings suggest that the ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are related to negative affect at both the symptom and trait levels.
EPA = eicosapentaenoic acid;
DHA = docosahexaenoic acid;
AA = arachidonic acid;
BDI = Beck Depression Inventory.