Mild prenatal protein malnutrition increases α2C-adrenoceptor density in the cerebral cortex during postnatal life and impairs neocortical long-term potentiation and visuo-spatial performance in rats
Version of Record online: 1 APR 2005
Journal of Neurochemistry
Volume 93, Issue 5, pages 1099–1109, June 2005
How to Cite
Soto-Moyano, R., Valladares, L., Sierralta, W., Pérez, H., Mondaca, M., Fernández, V., Burgos, H. and Hernández, A. (2005), Mild prenatal protein malnutrition increases α2C-adrenoceptor density in the cerebral cortex during postnatal life and impairs neocortical long-term potentiation and visuo-spatial performance in rats. Journal of Neurochemistry, 93: 1099–1109. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2005.03094.x
- Issue online: 26 APR 2005
- Version of Record online: 1 APR 2005
- Received November 12, 2004; revised manuscript received January 10, 2005; accepted January 13, 2005.
- α2C adrenoceptor;
- long-term potentiation;
- protein malnutrition;
- visuo-spatial memory
Mild reduction in the protein content of the mother's diet from 25 to 8% casein, calorically compensated by carbohydrates, does not alter body and brain weights of rat pups at birth, but leads to significant enhancements in the concentration and release of cortical noradrenaline during early postnatal life. Since central noradrenaline and some of its receptors are critically involved in long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory formation, this study evaluated the effect of mild prenatal protein malnutrition on the α2C-adrenoceptor density in the frontal and occipital cortices, induction of LTP in the same cortical regions and the visuo-spatial memory. Pups born from rats fed a 25% casein diet throughout pregnancy served as controls. At day 8 of postnatal age, prenatally malnourished rats showed a threefold increase in neocortical α2C-adrenoceptor density. At 60 days-of-age, α2C-adrenoceptor density was still elevated in the neocortex, and the animals were unable to maintain neocortical LTP and presented lower visuo-spatial memory performance. Results suggest that overexpression of neocortical α2C-adrenoceptors during postnatal life, subsequent to mild prenatal protein malnutrition, could functionally affect the synaptic networks subserving neocortical LTP and visuo-spatial memory formation.