Jump to navigation
Postnatal choline supplementation and developmental alcohol exposure
Schneider, Ronald Douglas
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term that describes the full range of adverse effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure, such as growth deficiency, facial dysmorphology, and CNS damage. Disruptions of CNS development can lead to a myriad of behavioral alterations including hyperactivity, poor motor coordination, and learning deficits. Given continued use of alcohol by pregnant women, there is a need for treatments to reduce FASD in individuals exposed to alcohol prenatally. A growing literature suggests that pre- and/or early postnatal supplementation with choline, an essential nutrient, can attenuate the damaging effects of developmental alcohol on learning and memory. Using a rodent model, this study examined if choline supplementation is effective in mitigating alcohol's teratogenic effects when administered during adolescence/young adulthood. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to alcohol (5.25 g/kg/day) during the third trimester equivalent brain growth spurt, which occurs from postnatal day (PD) 4-9, via oral intubation. Sham intubated and non-treated controls were included. Subjects were treated with 100 mg/kg/day choline chloride or vehicle from PD 40-60, a period equivalent to young adulthood. After the choline treatment had ceased, subjects were tested on a series of behavioral tasks: open field activity (PD 61-64), Morris water maze spatial learning (PD 65- 73) and spatial working memory (PD 87-91). Ethanol-exposed subjects were overactive in the activity chambers and impaired on the both the simple spatial and the working memory versions of the Morris water maze. Choline treatment failed to attenuate alcohol-related overactivity in the open field and deficits in simple spatial memory. In contrast, choline supplementation significantly mitigated alcohol-related deficits in working memory, which may suggest that choline administration at this developmental time affects functioning of the prefrontal cortex. The results indicate that choline supplementation, even as late as PD 40- 60, can attenuate some, but not all, of the behavioral deficits associated with developmental alcohol exposure. The results of this study indicate that dietary intervention may reduce some fetal alcohol effects, even when administered later in life, findings with important implications for adolescents and young adults with FASD.
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2011
© 2015 SDSU Library & Information Access. All Rights Reserved.