Hypertrophy of basal forebrain neurons and enhanced visuospatial memory in perinatally choline-supplemented rats.
The effects of choline supplementation during two time-frames of early development on radial-arm maze performance and the morphology of basal forebrain neurons immunoreactive for the P75 neurotrophin receptor (NTR) in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were examined. In the first experiment, rats were supplemented with choline chloride from conception until weaning. At 80 days of age, subjects were trained once a day on a 12-arm radial maze for 30 days. Compared to control littermates, supplemented rats made fewer working and reference memory errors; however, the memory enhancing effects of choline supplementation were greater in males than females. A morphometric analysis of NTR-immunoreactive cell bodies at three levels through the medial septum/diagonal band (MS/DBv) of these rats revealed that perinatal choline supplementation caused the somata of cells in the MS/DBv to be larger by 8-15%. In a second experiment, choline supplementation was restricted to embryonic days 12-17. A developmental profile of NTR immunoreactive cell bodies in the MS/DBv of 0-, 8-, 16-, 30- and 90-day old male and female rats again revealed that cell bodies were larger in choline-supplemented rats than controls. As in the behavioral studies, the effect of choline supplementation was greater in male than female rats. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that supplementation with choline chloride during early development leads to an increase in the size of cell bodies of NTR-immunoreactive cells in the basal forebrain and that this change may contribute to long-term improvement in spatial memory.
Williams, CL; Meck, WH; Heyer, DD; Loy, R
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