Prenatal availability of choline alters the development of acetylcholinesterase in the rat hippocampus.
Choline (Ch) supplementation during embryonic days (ED) 12-17 enhances spatial and temporal memory in adult and aged rats, whereas prenatal Ch deficiency impairs attention performance and accelerates age-related declines in temporal processing. To characterize the neurochemical and neuroanatomical mechanisms that may mediate these behavioral effects in rats, we studied the development [postnatal days (PD) 1, 3, 7, 17, 27, 35, 90, and 26 months postnatally] of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in hippocampus, neocortex and striatum as a function of prenatal Ch availability. We further measured the density of AChE-positive laminae (PD27 and PD90) and interneurons (PD20) in the hippocampus as a function of prenatal Ch availability. During ED11-ED17 pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats received a Ch-deficient, control or Ch-supplemented diet (average Ch intake 0, 1.3 and 4.6 mmol/kg/day, respectively). Prenatal Ch deficiency increased hippocampal AChE activity as compared to control animals in both males and females from the 2nd to 5th week postnatally. Moreover, prenatal Ch supplementation reduced hippocampal AChE activity as compared to control animals over the same developmental period. There was no effect of prenatal Ch status on either cortical or striatal AChE activity at any age measured, and by PD90 the effect of Ch on hippocampal AChE was no longer observed. In order to localize the early changes in hippocampal AChE activity anatomically, frozen coronal brain sections (PD20, PD27, PD90) were stained histochemically for AChE. Consistent with biochemical results, the AChE staining intensity was reduced in PD27 hippocampal laminae in the Ch-supplemented group and increased in the Ch-deficient group compared to control animals. There was no effect of the diet on hippocampal AChE staining intensity on PD90. In addition, the prenatal Ch availability was found to alter the size and density of AChE-positive PD20 interneurons. These results show that prenatal Ch availability has long-term consequences on the development of the hippocampal cholinergic system.
Cermak, JM; Blusztajn, JK; Meck, WH; Williams, CL; Fitzgerald, CM; Rosene, DL; Loy, R
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