Prenatal choline supplementation increases sensitivity to time by reducing non-scalar sources of variance in adult temporal processing.
Choline supplementation of the maternal diet has a long-term facilitative effect on timing and temporal memory of the offspring. To further delineate the impact of early nutritional status on interval timing, we examined effects of prenatal choline supplementation on the temporal sensitivity of adult (6 months) male rats. Rats that were given sufficient choline in their chow (CON: 1.1 g/kg) or supplemental choline added to their drinking water (SUP: 3.5 g/kg) during embryonic days (ED) 12-17 were trained with a peak-interval procedure that was shifted among 75%, 50%, and 25% probabilities of reinforcement with transitions from 18 s-->36 s-->72 s temporal criteria. Prenatal choline supplementation systematically sharpened interval timing functions by reducing the associative/non-temporal response enhancing effects of reinforcement probability on the Start response threshold, thereby reducing non-scalar sources of variance in the left-hand portion of the Gaussian-shaped response functions. No effect was observed for the Stop response threshold as a function of any of these manipulations. In addition, independence of peak time and peak rate was demonstrated as a function of reinforcement probability for both prenatal choline-supplemented and control rats. Overall, these results suggest that prenatal choline supplementation facilitates timing by reducing impulsive responding early in the interval, thereby improving the superimposition of peak functions for different temporal criteria.
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