INTRODUCTION: Vitamin A deficiency in pregnancy has a negative impact on the development of offspring; however, little is known about the effect of maternal marginal vitamin A deficiency (MVAD) on the function of the central nervous system in children later in postnatal life.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether MVAD during the gestational period can cause learning and memory impairment of adult offspring.
METHODS: There were 2 offspring groups: an experimental group that had MVAD only in pregnancy and a control group. Serum vitamin A was monitored by high-performance liquid chromatography. Both groups were trained by Marris water maze task at 8 weeks of age. The hippocampal CA1 long-term potentiation was detected by electrophysiologic technique, and the free calcium ion concentration in cells was examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy.
RESULTS: No significant difference in the serum vitamin A level was observed between the 2 groups; however, the escape latency of the experimental group (10.50 ± 1.58 seconds) was longer than that of the control group (8.75 ± 1.19 seconds) in the behavior test. Correspondingly, the changes of field excitatory postsynaptic potentials slope of the experimental group (29.5% ± 4.6%) was significantly less than that of the control group (57.5% ± 8.6%), and the lower relative intensity of fluorescence in cells was seen in the experimental group (85.8 ± 17.1) compared with the control group (113.6 ± 20.5) after the tetanus stimulation.
CONCLUSIONS: MVAD in pregnancy causes learning and memory impairment of adult offspring.
Submitted by Ting-Yu Li
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics