Choline Plus Working Memory Training Improves Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Deficits in Cognitive Flexibility and Functional Connectivity in Adulthood in Rats.
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AbstractFetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of intellectual disability, and may manifest as deficits in cognitive function, including working memory. Working memory capacity and accuracy increases during adolescence when neurons in the prefrontal cortex undergo refinement. Rats exposed to low doses of ethanol prenatally show deficits in working memory during adolescence, and in cognitive flexibility in young adulthood. The cholinergic system plays a crucial role in learning and memory processes. Here we report that the combination of choline and training on a working memory task during adolescence significantly improved cognitive flexibility (performance on an attentional set shifting task) in young adulthood: 92% of all females and 81% of control males formed an attentional set, but only 36% of ethanol-exposed males did. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that functional connectivity among brain regions was different between the sexes, and was altered by prenatal ethanol exposure and by choline + training. Connectivity, particularly between prefrontal cortex and striatum, was also different in males that formed a set compared with those that did not. Together, these findings indicate that prenatal exposure to low doses of ethanol has persistent effects on brain functional connectivity and behavior, that these effects are sex-dependent, and that an adolescent intervention could mitigate some of the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure.
Keywordattentional set shifting
delayed non-matching to place
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/14148
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