Background & Objective: A number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including Parkinson's
disease, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and, to some extent, depression, involve
dysregulation of the brain dopamine systems. The etiology of these diseases is multifactorial,
involving genetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that inadequate levels of n-3 (omega-
3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the brain may represent a risk factor for these disorders.
These fatty acids, which are derived from the diet, are a major component of neuronal membranes and
are of particular importance in brain development and function. Low levels of n-3 PUFAs in the brain
affect the brain dopamine systems and, when combined with appropriate genetic and other factors, increase
the risk of developing these disorders and/or the severity of the disease. This article reviews the
neurobiology of n-3 PUFAs and their effects on dopaminergic function.
Conclusion: Clinical studies supporting their role in the etiologies of diseases involving the brain dopamine
systems and the potential of n-3 PUFAs in the treatment of these disorders are discussed.