Poster Theater Flash Session
Aging and Chronic Disease
Carotenoids and Retinoids (CARIG)
To assess the effect of 3rd trimester maternal choline supplementation on child memory at 7 y of age. Animal studies have provided strong evidence that maternal choline supplementation improves offspring cognition, including memory, but few experimental studies have evaluated this intervention in humans.
Methods : Pregnant women (n=26) were randomized to consume 480 mg (approx. the Adequate Intake [AI]) or 930 mg choline/d from gestational wk 27 until delivery as part of a controlled-feeding study. All food (providing 380 mg choline/d), choline supplements (100 mg or 550 mg/d), and prenatal vitamins were provided by the study. An ancillary follow-up was conducted to assess offspring cognitive functioning, including memory, at age 7 y (n=20). Children performed a computer-based color-location memory task in which the location of dots on a cartoon figure were recalled after a retention interval (RI) of 1 or 8 s. The task increased in difficulty level (number of dots to be recalled; 1 to 5 dots) every 4 trials. Data were analyzed using mixed models; pairwise comparisons were corrected for multiplicity.
Results : Children in the 930 mg/d group passed more levels than those in the 480 mg/d group (p=.048; see Figure), indicative of superior memory span. While the choline group by RI interaction was non-significant (p=.31), contrasts revealed that the 930 (v. 480) mg/d group tended to pass more levels at the 1 s RI (p=.052), but not at the 8 s RI (p=.58). Similarly, the analysis of total dots correct revealed a choline group by RI interaction (p=.08) such that children in the 930 (v. 480) mg/d group recalled more dots correctly at the 1 s RI (p=.02), but not at the 8 s RI (p >.99).
Conclusions : Children whose mothers consumed 930 (v. 480) mg choline/d performed significantly better on a task of color-location memory at age 7 y, suggesting a long-term beneficial effect of prenatal choline supplementation on offspring cognition in humans. These findings indicate that the choline AI for pregnant women may not be sufficient for optimal offspring cognitive functioning and raise concerns about choline intake during pregnancy in North America, which on average is only approx. 70% of the AI.
Funding Sources : Funded by NIFA/USDA and the Balchem Corp. JEHN and CLB were supported by NIH Traineeships. CLB was supported by an Egg Nutrition Center Young Investigator Research Award for Early Exploration.