Dissociating the Long-Term Effects of Fetal/Neonatal Iron Deficiency on Three Types of Learning in the Rat

Adam T. Schmidt, Kelly J. Waldow, William M. Grove, Juan A. Salinas, Michael K. Georgieff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Iron deficiency (ID) is a common nutrient deficiency worldwide. This condition is linked to changes in myelin formation, dopaminergic function, and energy metabolism. Early ID results in persistent long-term cognitive and behavioral disturbances in children, despite a return to normal iron status. The present study assesses formerly ID adult rats on maze learning tasks that depend on specific brain regions related to learning, specifically the hippocampus, striatum, and amygdala. Rat dams were fed ID chow starting on gestational Day 2 through postnatal Day 7, and behavioral testing began at postnatal Day 65-following a return to normal iron status. Formerly ID rats exhibited delayed acquisition of the hippocampus-dependant task and no differences from controls on the striatum- and amygdala-dependent tasks. These findings likely reflect long-term reduction in but not abolition of hippocampus-dependent learning and preserved function in other brain structures (e.g., striatum and amygdala).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume121
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Keywords

  • fetal
  • hippocampus
  • iron deficiency
  • learning
  • rat

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