Alcohol (ethanol) exposure during pregnancy can adversely affect development, with long-lasting consequences that include neuroimmune, cognitive, and behavioral dysfunction. Alcohol-induced alterations in cytokine levels in the hippocampus may contribute to abnormal cognitive and behavioral outcomes in individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Nutritional intervention with the essential nutrient choline can improve hippocampal-dependent behavioral impairments and may also influence neuroimmune function. Thus, we examined the effects of choline supplementation on hippocampal cytokine levels in adolescent and adult rats exposed to alcohol early in development. From postnatal day (PD) 4-9 (third trimester-equivalent), Sprague-Dawley rat pups received ethanol (5.25 g/kg/day) or sham intubations and were treated with choline chloride (100 mg/kg/day) or saline from PD 10-30; hippocampi were collected at PD 35 or PD 60. Age-specific ethanol-induced increases in interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and keratinocyte chemoattractant/human growth-regulated oncogene (KC/GRO) were identified in adulthood, but not adolescence, whereas persistent ethanol-induced increases of interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels were present at both ages. Interestingly, choline supplementation reduced age-related changes in interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and interleukin-5 (IL-5) as well as mitigating the long-lasting increase in IFN-gamma in ethanol-exposed adults. Moreover, choline influenced inflammatory tone by modulating ratios of pro- to -anti-inflammatory cytokines. These results suggest that ethanol-induced changes in hippocampal cytokine levels are more evident during adulthood than adolescence, and that choline can mitigate some effects of ethanol exposure on long-lasting inflammatory tone.
Baker, J. A., Bodnar, T. S., Breit, K., Weinberg, J., & Thomas, J. D. (2023). Choline Supplementation Alters Hippocampal Cytokine Levels in Adolescence and Adulthood in an Animal Model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Cells, 12(4), 1-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells12040546