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Nutr Neurosci. 2012 Sep;15(5):20-5. doi: 10.1179/1476830512Y.0000000014. Epub 2012 May 29.

Effects of perinatal undernutrition on the development of neurons in the rat insular cortex.

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Departamento de Neurobiología del Desarrollo y Neurofisiología, Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Campus UNAM Juriquilla, Querétaro, México.


The insular cortex (IC) of the rat is a major area for the convergence and integration of olfactory, gustatory, and visual information, and at present it is unclear if perinatal undernutrition interferes with the structure and function of the IC neurons. Golgi-Cox-stained cells of the IC were studied in control and undernourished Wistar rats at 12, 20, and 30 days of age. Pregnant dams were undernourished by the reduction of a balanced diet during a part of the gestational period (G6-G18). After parturition (P1-P23) pups remained for 12 hours with a normal and 12 hours with a nipple-ligated dam. Undernutrition significantly reduced the number, and the arborization of the dendritic arbors, and the perimeter, and cross-sectional area of perikarya. The IC neuronal morphology appearances suggest a possible mechanism for the impairment in information processing of complex phenomena such as taste sensation and hedonic response.

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