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Article

Choline Plus Working Memory Training Improves Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Deficits in Cognitive Flexibility and Functional Connectivity in Adulthood in Rats

1
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
2
Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
3
Department of Nutrition, Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3513; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113513
Received: 30 September 2020 / Revised: 27 October 2020 / Accepted: 12 November 2020 / Published: 14 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of intellectual disability, and may manifest as deficits in cognitive function, including working memory. Working memory capacity and accuracy increases during adolescence when neurons in the prefrontal cortex undergo refinement. Rats exposed to low doses of ethanol prenatally show deficits in working memory during adolescence, and in cognitive flexibility in young adulthood. The cholinergic system plays a crucial role in learning and memory processes. Here we report that the combination of choline and training on a working memory task during adolescence significantly improved cognitive flexibility (performance on an attentional set shifting task) in young adulthood: 92% of all females and 81% of control males formed an attentional set, but only 36% of ethanol-exposed males did. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that functional connectivity among brain regions was different between the sexes, and was altered by prenatal ethanol exposure and by choline + training. Connectivity, particularly between prefrontal cortex and striatum, was also different in males that formed a set compared with those that did not. Together, these findings indicate that prenatal exposure to low doses of ethanol has persistent effects on brain functional connectivity and behavior, that these effects are sex-dependent, and that an adolescent intervention could mitigate some of the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: prenatal alcohol; fMRI; reversal learning; delayed non-matching to place; attentional set shifting; striatum; prefrontal prenatal alcohol; fMRI; reversal learning; delayed non-matching to place; attentional set shifting; striatum; prefrontal
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MDPI and ACS Style

Waddell, J.; Hill, E.; Tang, S.; Jiang, L.; Xu, S.; Mooney, S.M. Choline Plus Working Memory Training Improves Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Deficits in Cognitive Flexibility and Functional Connectivity in Adulthood in Rats. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3513. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113513

AMA Style

Waddell J, Hill E, Tang S, Jiang L, Xu S, Mooney SM. Choline Plus Working Memory Training Improves Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Deficits in Cognitive Flexibility and Functional Connectivity in Adulthood in Rats. Nutrients. 2020; 12(11):3513. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113513

Chicago/Turabian Style

Waddell, Jaylyn, Elizabeth Hill, Shiyu Tang, Li Jiang, Su Xu, and Sandra M. Mooney. 2020. "Choline Plus Working Memory Training Improves Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Deficits in Cognitive Flexibility and Functional Connectivity in Adulthood in Rats" Nutrients 12, no. 11: 3513. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113513

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