Choline availability to the developing rat fetus alters adult hippocampal long-term potentiation.
Supplementation with choline during pregnancy in rats causes a long-lasting improvement of visuospatial memory of the offspring. To determine if the behavioral effects of choline are related to physiological changes in hippocampus, the effect of perinatal choline supplementation or deficiency on long-term potentiation (LTP) was examined in hippocampal slices of 6-8 and 12-14 month old rats born to dams consuming a control, choline-supplemented, or a choline-free diet during pregnancy. Stimulating and recording electrodes were placed in stratum radiatum of area CA1 to record extracellular population excitatory postsynaptic potentials (pEPSPs). To induce LTP, a theta-like stimulus train was generated. The amplitude of the stimulus pulses was set at either 10% or 50% of the stimulus intensity which had induced the maximal pEPSP slope on the input/output curve. We found that at both ages, a significantly smaller percentage of slices from perinatally choline-deficient rats displayed LTP after 10% stimulus intensity (compared with control and choline-supplemented rats), and a significantly larger percentage of slices from choline-supplemented rats displayed LTP at 50% stimulus intensity (compared with control and choline-deficient rats). Results reveal that alterations in the availability of dietary choline during discrete periods of development lead to changes in hippocampal electrophysiology that last well into adulthood. These changes in LTP threshold may underlie the observed enhancement of visuospatial memory seen after prenatal choline supplementation and point to the importance of choline intake during pregnancy for development of brain and memory function.
Jones, JP; Meck, WH; Williams, CL; Wilson, WA; Swartzwelder, HS
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