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The behavioral effects of choline supplementation on a rodent model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Abou, Elizabeth Jalal
Thompy, JenniferBrasser, SusanHarris, Greg
Despite knowledge that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is one of the leading causes of mental retardation and may lead to a range of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); some women continue to drink alcohol during pregnancy, producing a need to seek effective therapeutic interventions. One treatment that has gained interest as a potential treatment for FASD is choline, an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in brain development and function. The current study used a rodent model to examine the beneficial effects of choline supplementation initiated mid-gestation on mitigating alcohol related teratology caused by heavy alcohol consumption through a time period equivalent to all three trimesters of human pregnancy. Ethanol was administered to pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats at a dose of 6.0 g/kg/day from gestational days (GD) 5-20, a time period equivalent to the first two trimesters of human pregnancy and to pups at 5.25 g/kg/day from postnatal days (PD) 2-9, a time period equivalent to the third trimester of human pregnancy. Ethanol treated pups received choline supplementation at the following dose (0, 15, 50, 100, or 150 mg/kg/day) via subcutaneous injections from PD 1-21. Pair-fed (PF) and lab chow (LC) control groups received injections of saline and sham incubations. On PD 45, subjects were tested on a Morris water maze spatial learning task and on PD 70, a working memory version of that task. Developmental alcohol reduced body and brain weight and impaired spatial learning. Spatial learning deficits were only observed in males. Choline reduced the severity of alcohol-related deficits in a dose-dependent manner. Ethanol exposure did not significantly impair working memory performance. These results indicate that choline supplementation may reduce some alcohol-related learning and memory impairments when given around the third trimester of pregnancy even if heavy alcohol consumption occurred throughout pregnancy. These findings have important implications for children of women who drank alcohol during pregnancy and their caregivers.
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2010
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