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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2003 Nov 12;145(2):213-8.

Long-term effects of early-life malnutrition and status epilepticus: assessment by spatial navigation and CREB(Serine-133) phosphorylation.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, No. 123, Ta-Pei Road, Niao-Sung, Kaohsiung 833, Taiwan.


Malnutrition and/or seizure in the developing brain cause hippocampal damages. However, underlying mechanisms remain unclear. The malnutrition group (MN) subjected with malnutrition alone was culled to 20-22 rats per dam on postnatal day 1 (P1). The rats subjected to lithium-pilocarpine (Li/PC)-induced status epilepticus at P21 were grouped as the SE group. The rats subjected to malnutrition and subsequent status epilepticus were grouped as the MS group. Visual-spatial memory test using the Morris water maze task was performed at P80. Following behavioral tests, the hippocampus was evaluated for histological lesions and phosphorylated cAMP-responsive, element-binding protein at serine-133 (pCREB(Ser-133)), an important transcription factor underlying learning and memory in the mammalian brain. Here, the MN group exhibited decreased body weight at P21. There was no significant difference in the seizure duration and mortality between the SE and MS groups. In adulthood (P80), both the SE and MS groups showed the spatial learning deficit, hippocampal cell loss and decreased pCREB(Ser133) level within hippocampal CA1 region. Although the MN group demonstrated a decreased level of pCREB(Ser133), no distinguishable changes in the cognitive deficit and hippocampal neuronal loss were detected. Collectively, the present results suggest that early-life malnutrition led to a reduced phosphorylation of CREB(Ser133) in hippocampal CA1 in the absence of the long-term spatial learning deficit. This decreased phosphorylation of CREB(Ser133) could suggest that cascades of signal transduction responsible for the phosphorylation of CREB(Ser133) might be disturbed by early-life malnutrition. In addition, malnutrition caused no discernible synergistic effects on Li/PC-induced status epilepticus.

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