• Choline and working memory training improve cognitive deficits caused by prenatal exposure to ethanol

      Waddell, J.; Mooney, S.M. (MDPI AG, 2017)
      Prenatal ethanol exposure is associated with deficits in executive function such as working memory, reversal learning and attentional set shifting in humans and animals. These behaviors are dependent on normal structure and function in cholinergic brain regions. Supplementation with choline can improve many behaviors in rodent models of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and also improves working memory function in normal rats. We tested the hypothesis that supplementation with choline in the postnatal period will improve working memory during adolescence in normal and ethanol-exposed animals, and that working memory engagement during adolescence will transfer to other cognitive domains and have lasting effects on executive function in adulthood. Male and female offspring of rats fed an ethanol-containing liquid diet (ET; 3% v/v) or control dams given a non-ethanol liquid diet (CT) were injected with choline (Cho; 100 mg/kg) or saline (Sal) once per day from postnatal day (P) 16-P30. Animals were trained/tested on a working memory test in adolescence and then underwent attentional set shifting and reversal learning in young adulthood. In adolescence, ET rats required more training to reach criterion than CT-Sal. Choline improved working memory performance for both CT and ET animals. In young adulthood, ET animals also performed poorly on the set shifting and reversal tasks. Deficits were more robust in ET male rats than female ET rats, but Cho improved performance in both sexes. ET male rats given a combination of Cho and working memory training in adolescence required significantly fewer trials to achieve criterion than any other ET group, suggesting that early interventions can cause a persistent improvement. Copyright 2017 by the authors.
    • Functional Connectivity and Metabolic Alterations in Medial Prefrontal Cortex in a Rat Model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and in vivo Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study

      Tang, S.; Xu, S.; Waddell, J. (S. Karger AG, 2019)
      Prenatal ethanol exposure alters brain structure, functional connectivity, and behavior in humans and rats. Behavioral changes include deficits in executive function, which requires cooperative activity between the frontal cortices and other brain regions. In this study, we analyzed the functional connectivity and neurochemical levels of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ( 1 H-MRS) in ethanol-exposed (Eth) and control (Ctr) rats. Pregnant Long-Evans rats were fed a liquid diet containing ethanol (2.1-6.46% v/v ethanol) from gestational days 6 to 21 (Eth). Ctr animals received an isocaloric, isonutritive liquid diet. In young adulthood, male and female offspring underwent in vivo MRI using a 7.0-Tesla system. 1 H-MRS from the PFC and whole brain rsfMRI were obtained on the animals. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis was performed with seeds placed in the PFC, matching the voxel of MRS. Male, but not female, Eth rats showed less functional connectivity between PFC and dorsal striatum than Ctr animals. In Eth males glucose levels were significantly lower, and in Eth females lower levels of phosphorylcholine but an increased gamma-aminobutyric acid/glutamate ratio were observed in the PFC compared with Ctr animals. Prenatal ethanol alters brain metabolism and functional connectivity of the PFC in a sex-dependent manner. Copyright 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    • Pilot study of neurologic toxicity in mice after proton minibeam therapy

      Eley, J.G.; Chadha, A.S.; Quini, C.; Vichaya, E.G.; Zhang, C.; Davis, J.; Sahoo, N.; Waddell, J.; Leiser, D.; Dilmanian, F.A.; et al. (Nature Research, 2020)
      Proton minibeams (MBs) comprised of parallel planar beamlets were evaluated for their ability to spare healthy brain compared to proton broad beams (BBs). Juvenile mice were given partial brain irradiation of 10 or 30 Gy integral dose using 100 MeV protons configured either as BBs or arrays of 0.3-mm planar MBs spaced 1.0 mm apart on center. Neurologic toxicity was evaluated during an 8-month surveillance: no overt constitutional or neurologic dysfunction was noted for any study animals. Less acute epilation was observed in MB than BB mice. Persistent chronic inflammation was noted along the entire BB path in BB mice whereas inflammation was confined to just within the MB peak regions in MB mice. The potential neurologic sparing, possibly via reduced volume of chronic inflammation, offers a compelling rationale for clinical advancement of this proton technique. Copyright 2020, The Author(s).