Brain Res 2014 Mar 23;1552:26-33. Epub 2014 Jan 23.
Medical Research Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA; Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Anchutz Medical Campus, 12800 East 19th Avenue, Aurora, CO, USA.
Perinatal choline supplementation has produced several benefits in rodent models, from improved learning and memory to protection from the behavioral effects of fetal alcohol exposure. We have shown that supplemented choline through gestation and lactation produces long-term improvement in deficient sensory inhibition in DBA/2 mice which models a similar deficit in schizophrenia patients. The present study extends that research by feeding normal or supplemented choline diets to DBA/2 mice carrying the null mutation for the α7 nicotinic receptor gene (Chrna7). DBA/2 mice heterozygotic for Chrna7 were bred together. Dams were placed on supplemented (5 gm/kg diet) or normal (1.1 gm/kg diet) choline at mating and remained on the specific diet until offspring weaning. Thereafter, offspring were fed standard rodent chow. Adult offspring were assessed for sensory inhibition. Brains were obtained to ascertain hippocampal α7 nicotinic receptor levels. Choline-supplemented mice heterozygotic or null-mutant for Chrna7 failed to show improvement in sensory inhibition. Only wildtype choline-supplemented mice showed improvement with the effect solely through a decrease in test amplitude. This supports the hypothesis that gestational-choline supplementation is acting through the α7 nicotinic receptor to improve sensory inhibition. Although there was a significant gene-dose-related change in hippocampal α7 receptor numbers, binding studies did not reveal any choline-dose-related change in binding in any hippocampal region, the interaction being driven by a significant genotype main effect (wildtype>heterozygote>null mutant). These data parallel a human study wherein the offspring of pregnant women receiving choline supplementation during gestation, showed better sensory inhibition than offspring of women on placebo.