Developmental protein malnutrition: influences on the central nervous system of the rat

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
O ResnickP J Morgane


Our group has been carrying out interdisciplinary studies on the effects of prenatal and postnatal protein malnutrition on the developing rat brain. Anatomical, physiological, biochemical and behavioral approaches using the same animal model have revealed that protein malnutrition affects the brain at various levels, i.e., (1) anatomical, as revealed by Golgi findings of deranged dendritic trees on analysis of cortical and subcortical areas; (2) physiological, as revealed by delayed sleep pattern maturation, disturbances in seizure thresholds, slowing of sensory cortico-cortical and thalamocortical evoked potentials, and changed power in hippocampal theta activity; (3) biochemical, as revealed by marked increases in biogenic amines dating from birth, as well as modifications in tryptophan metabolism; and (4) behavioral, as revealed by various changes in responses to different kinds of aversive stimulation. Reversal studies have revealed that many changes are permanent and not amenable to nutritional rehabilitation even at birth, which is before the brain growth spurt in the rat. Our paradigm closely mimicks the human condition of low level, chronic protein undernutrition and thus reveals the underlying disturbances due to malnu...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Behavior, Animal
Golgi Apparatus
Tryptophan Metabolism Pathway
Entire Central Nervous System
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