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Effects of Saccharin Intake on Hippocampal and Cortical Plasticity in Juvenile and Adolescent Rats

  • Park, Jong-Sil (Departments of Physiology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Yoo, Sang-Bae (Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Kim, Jin-Young (Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Lee, Sung-Joong (Departments of Physiology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Oh, Seog-Bae (Departments of Physiology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Kim, Joong-Soo (Departments of Physiology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Lee, Jong-Ho (Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Park, Kyung-Pyo (Departments of Physiology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Jahng, Jeong-Won (Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry) ;
  • Choi, Se-Young (Departments of Physiology, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University School of Dentistry)
  • Received : 2010.04.02
  • Accepted : 2010.04.21
  • Published : 2010.04.30

Abstract

The sensory system is developed and optimized by experiences given in the early phase of life in association with other regions of the nervous system. To date, many studies have revealed that deprivation of specific sensory experiences can modify the structure and function of the central nervous system; however, the effects of sensory overload remains unclear. Here we studied the effect of overloading the taste sense in the early period of life on the synaptic plasticity of rat hippocampus and somatosensory cortex. We prepared male and female Sprague Dawley rats with ad libitum access to a 0.1% saccharin solution for 2 hrs per day for three weeks after weaning on postnatal day 22. Saccharin consumption was slightly increased in males compared with females; however, saccharin intake did not affect chow intake or weight gain either in male or in female rats. We examined the effect of saccharin-intake on long term potentiation (LTP) formation in hippocampal Schaffer collateral pathway and somatosensory cortex layer IV - II/III pathways in the 6-week old saccharin-fed rats. There was no significant difference in LTP formation in the hippocampus between the control group and saccharin-treated group in both male and female rats. Also in the somatosensory cortex, we did not see a significant difference in LTP among the groups. Therefore, we conclude that saccharin-intake during 3~6 weeks may not affect the development of physiological function of the cortical and hippocampal synapses in rats.

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