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Learn Mem. 2005 Jan-Feb;12(1):39-43. Epub 2005 Jan 12.

Dietary CDP-choline supplementation prevents memory impairment caused by impoverished environmental conditions in rats.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We previously showed that dietary cytidine (5')-diphosphocholine (CDP-choline) supplementation could protect against the development of memory deficits in aging rats. In the present study, younger rats exposed to impoverished environmental conditions and manifesting hippocampal-dependent memory impairments similar to those observed in the aging rodents were given CDP-choline, and its effects on this cognitive deficit were assessed. Male Sprague-Dawley rats reared for 3 mo in impoverished (IC) or enriched environmental (EC) conditions concurrently received either a control diet or a diet supplemented with CDP-choline (approximately 500 mg/kg/d). After 3 mo, rats were trained to perform spatial and cued versions of the Morris water maze, and their rates of acquisition and retention were compared. Impoverished rats exhibited a selective deficit in hippocampal-dependent spatial memory which could be ameliorated by feeding them CDP-choline. The CDP-choline had no memory-enhancing effect in enriched rats, nor did it prevent the memory impairment of impoverished rats if the animals consumed it for the initial or final months instead of for the entire 3-mo period. These findings indicate that long-term dietary CDP-choline supplementation can ameliorate the hippocampal-dependent memory impairment caused by impoverished environmental conditions in rats, and suggest that its actions result, in part, from a long-term effect such as enhanced membrane phosphatide synthesis, an effect shown to require long-term dietary supplementation with CDP-choline.

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