[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Choline is a vital nutrient needed during early development for both humans and rodents. Severe dietary choline deficiency during pregnancy leads to birth defects, while more limited deficiency during mid- to late pregnancy causes deficits in hippocampal plasticity in adult rodent offspring that are accompanied by cognitive deficits only when task demands are high. Because prenatal choline supplementation confers neuroprotection of the adult hippocampus against a variety of neural insults and aids memory, we hypothesized that prenatal choline deficiency may enhance vulnerability to neural injury. To examine this, adult offspring of rat dams either fed a control diet (CON) or one deficient in choline (DEF) during embryonic days 12-17 were given multiple injections (i.p.) of saline (control) or kainic acid to induce seizures and were euthanized 16 days later. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, DEF rats were not more susceptible to seizure induction and showed similar levels of seizure-induced hippocampal histopathology, GAD expression loss, upregulated hippocampal GFAP and growth factor expression, and increased dentate cell and neuronal proliferation as that seen in CON rats. Although prenatal choline deficiency compromises adult hippocampal plasticity in the intact brain, it does not appear to exacerbate the neuropathological response to seizures in the adult hippocampus at least shortly after excitotoxic injury.
Brain research 07/2011; 1413:84-97. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2011.07.042 · 2.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Status epilepticus (SE) in adulthood dramatically alters the hippocampus and produces spatial learning and memory deficits. Some factors, like environmental enrichment and exercise, may promote functional recovery from SE. Prenatal choline supplementation (SUP) also protects against spatial memory deficits observed shortly after SE in adulthood, and we have previously reported that SUP attenuates the neuropathological response to SE in the adult hippocampus just 16 days after SE. It is unknown whether SUP can ameliorate longer-term cognitive and neuropathological consequences of SE, whether repeatedly engaging the injured hippocampus in a cognitive task might facilitate recovery from SE, and whether our prophylactic prenatal dietary treatment would enable the injured hippocampus to more effectively benefit from cognitive rehabilitation. To address these issues, adult offspring from rat dams that received either a control (CON) or SUP diet on embryonic days 12-17 first received training on a place learning water maze task (WM) and were then administered saline or kainic acid (KA) to induce SE. Rats then either remained in their home cage, or received three additional WM sessions at 3, 6.5, and 10 weeks after SE to test spatial learning and memory retention. Eleven weeks after SE, the brains were analyzed for several hippocampal markers known to be altered by SE. SUP attenuated SE-induced spatial learning deficits and completely rescued spatial memory retention by 10 weeks post-SE. Repeated WM experience prevented SE-induced declines in glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and dentate gyrus neurogenesis, and attenuated increased glial fibrilary acidic protein (GFAP) levels. Remarkably, SUP alone was similarly protective to an even greater extent, and SUP rats that were water maze trained after SE showed reduced hilar migration of newborn neurons. These findings suggest that prophylactic SUP is protective against the long-term cognitive and neuropathological effects of KA-induced SE, and that rehabilitative cognitive enrichment may be partially beneficial.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whole-brain irradiation (WBI) therapy produces progressive learning and memory deficits in patients with primary or secondary brain tumors. Exercise enhances memory and adult hippocampal neurogenesis in the intact brain, so we hypothesized that exercise may be an effective treatment to alleviate consequences of WBI. Previous studies using animal models to address this issue have yielded mixed results and have not examined potential molecular mechanisms. We investigated the short- and long-term effects of WBI on spatial learning and memory retention and determined whether voluntary running after WBI aids recovery of brain and cognitive function. Forty adult female C57Bl/6 mice given a single dose of 5 Gy or sham WBI were trained 2.5 weeks and up to 4 months after WBI in a Barnes maze. Half of the mice received daily voluntary wheel access starting 1 month after sham or WBI. Daily running following WBI prevented the marked decline in spatial memory retention observed months after irradiation. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) immunolabeling and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay indicated that this behavioral rescue was accompanied by a partial restoration of newborn BrdUrd+/NeuN+ neurons in the dentate gyrus and increased hippocampal expression of brain-derived vascular endothelial growth factor and insulin-like growth factor-1, and occurred despite irradiation-induced elevations in hippocampal proinflammatory cytokines. WBI in adult mice produced a progressive memory decline consistent with what has been reported in cancer patients receiving WBI therapy. Our findings show that running can abrogate this memory decline and aid recovery of adult hippocampal plasticity, thus highlighting exercise as a potential therapeutic intervention.
Cancer Research 09/2010; 70(22):9329-38. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1854 · 9.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factors are a key point of convergence between the cell-intrinsic and extracellular signals that guide synaptic development and brain plasticity. Calcium-response factor (CaRF) is a unique transcription factor first identified as a binding protein for a calcium-response element in the gene encoding brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf). We have now generated Carf knock-out (KO) mice to characterize the function of this factor in vivo. Intriguingly, Carf KO mice have selectively reduced expression of Bdnf exon IV-containing mRNA transcripts and BDNF protein in the cerebral cortex, whereas BDNF levels in the hippocampus and striatum remain unchanged, implicating CaRF as a brain region-selective regulator of BDNF expression. At the cellular level, Carf KO mice show altered expression of GABAergic proteins at striatal synapses, raising the possibility that CaRF may contribute to aspects of inhibitory synapse development. Carf KO mice show normal spatial learning in the Morris water maze and normal context-dependent fear conditioning. However they have an enhanced ability to find a new platform location on the first day of reversal training in the water maze and they extinguish conditioned fear more slowly than their wild-type littermates. Finally, Carf KO mice show normal short-term (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) in a novel object recognition task, but exhibit impairments during the remote memory phase of testing. Together, these data reveal novel roles for CaRF in the organization and/or function of neural circuits that underlie essential aspects of learning and memory.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2010; 30(22):7453-65. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3997-09.2010 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Brain Research 10/2008; 1237:153-66. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2008.08.074 · 2.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Supplemental choline in the maternal diet produces a lasting enhancement in memory in offspring that resists age-related decline and is accompanied by neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and neurochemical changes in the hippocampus. The present study was designed to examine: 1) if prenatal choline supplementation alters behaviors that contribute to risk or resilience in cognitive aging, and 2) whether, at old age (25 months), prenatally choline-supplemented rats show evidence of preserved hippocampal plasticity. A longitudinal design was used to look at exploration of an open field, with and without objects, at 1 and 24 months of age in male and female rats whose mothers were fed a diet supplemented with choline (SUP; 5 mg/kg choline chloride) or not supplemented (CON; 1.1 mg/kg choline chloride) on embryonic days 12-17. Aging caused a significant decline in open field exploration that was more pronounced in males but interest in novel objects was maintained in both sexes. Prenatal choline supplementation attenuated, but did not prevent age-related decline in exploration in males and increased object exploration in young females. Following behavioral assessment, rats were euthanized to assess markers of hippocampal plasticity. Aged SUP males and females had more newly proliferated cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus and protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) were significantly elevated in female SUP rats in comparison to all other groups. Taken together, these findings provide the first evidence that prenatal choline supplementation causes changes in exploratory behaviors over the lifespan and preserves some features of hippocampal plasticity that can be seen even at 2 years of age.
Brain Research 09/2008; 1237:110-23. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2008.08.049 · 2.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prenatal choline supplementation (SUP) protects adult rats against spatial memory deficits observed after excitotoxin-induced status epilepticus (SE). To examine the mechanism underlying this neuroprotection, we determined the effects of SUP on a variety of hippocampal markers known to change in response to SE and thought to underlie ensuing cognitive deficits. Adult offspring from rat dams that received either a control or SUP diet on embryonic days 12-17 were administered saline or kainic acid (i.p.) to induce SE and were euthanized 16 days later. SUP markedly attenuated seizure-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration, dentate cell proliferation, and hippocampal GFAP mRNA expression levels, prevented the loss of hippocampal GAD65 protein and mRNA expression, and altered growth factor expression patterns. SUP also enhanced pre-seizure hippocampal levels of BDNF, NGF, and IGF-1, which may confer a neuroprotective hippocampal microenvironment that dampens the neuropathological response to and/or helps facilitate recovery from SE to protect cognitive function.
Neurobiology of Disease 06/2008; 30(2):255-69. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2008.01.008 · 5.08 Impact Factor