Dietary omega-3 fatty acids modulate large-scale systems organization in the rhesus macaque brain

David S. Grayson, Christopher D. Kroenke, Martha Neuringer, Damien A. Fair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy brain and retinal development and have been implicated in a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. This study used resting-state functional connectivity MRI to define the large-scale organization of the rhesus macaque brain and changes associated with differences in lifetime ω-3 fatty acid intake. Monkeys fed docosahexaenoic acid, the long-chain ω-3 fatty acid abundant in neural membranes, had cortical modular organization resembling the healthy human brain. In contrast, those with low levels of dietary ω-3 fatty acids had decreased functional connectivity within the early visual pathway and throughout higher-order associational cortex and showed impairment of distributed cortical networks. Our findings illustrate the similarity in modular cortical organization between the healthy human and macaque brain and support the notion that ω-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in developing and/or maintaining distributed, large-scale brain systems, including those essential for normal cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2065-2074
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Brain organization
  • DHA
  • Functional connectivity
  • Macaque development
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Visual pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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