Spatial memory and hippocampal plasticity are differentially sensitive to the availability of choline in adulthood as a function of choline supply in utero.
Altered dietary choline availability early in life leads to persistent changes in spatial memory and hippocampal plasticity in adulthood. Developmental programming by early choline nutrition may determine the range of adult choline intake that is optimal for the types of neural plasticity involved in cognitive function. To test this, male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to a choline chloride deficient (DEF), sufficient (CON), or supplemented (SUP) diet during embryonic days 12-17 and then returned to a control diet (1.1 g choline chloride/kg). At 70 days of age, we found that DEF and SUP rats required fewer choices to locate 8 baited arms of a 12-arm radial maze than CON rats. When switched to a choline-deficient diet (0 g/kg), SUP rats showed impaired performance while CON and DEF rats were unaffected. In contrast, when switched to a choline-supplemented diet (5.0 g/kg), DEF rats' performance was significantly impaired while CON and SUP rats were less affected. These changes in performance were reversible when the rats were switched back to a control diet. In a second experiment, DEF, CON, and SUP rats were either maintained on a control diet, or the choline-supplemented diet. After 12 weeks, DEF rats were significantly impaired by choline supplementation on a matching-to-place water-maze task, which was also accompanied by a decrease in dentate cell proliferation in DEF rats only. IGF-1 levels were elevated by both prenatal and adult choline supplementation. Taken together, these findings suggest that the in utero availability of an essential nutrient, choline, causes differential behavioral and neuroplastic sensitivity to the adult choline supply.
Wong-Goodrich, SJE; Glenn, MJ; Mellott, TJ; Blusztajn, JK; Meck, WH; Williams, CL
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