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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Neonatal dietary cholesterol and alleles of cholesterol 7-alpha hydroxylase affect piglet cerebrum weight, cholesterol concentration, and behavior

Authors
item Pond, Wilson -
item Mersmann, Harry -
item Su, Dairong -
item Mcglone, John -
item Wheeler, Matthew -
item Smith, E. O'Brian -

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 28, 2007
Publication Date: February 1, 2008
Citation: Pond, W.G., Mersmann, H.J., Su, D., McGlone, J.J., Wheeler, M.B. Smith, E.O. 2008. Neonatal dietary cholesterol and alleles of cholesterol 7-alpha hydroxylase affect piglet cerebrum weight, cholesterol concentration, and behavior. Journal of Nutrition. 138(2):282-286.

Interpretive Summary: This study was designed to test the question of whether dietary cholesterol feeding in infancy affects behavioral development. The study was conducted using pigs as a model for human infants and these pigs were genetically predisposed to have either high (HG) or low (LG) plasma cholesterol based on a mutation in a gene involved in cholesterol synthesis. Infant pigs from each genetic group were fed formulas with and without added cholesterol for 42 days and then measurements of behavior where conducted. There was no effect of dietary cholesterol on measures of exploratory behavior. These findings suggest that dietary cholesterol consumption in infants does not alter behavioral development, however, those individuals genetically predisposed to low plasma cholesterol may have impaired behavioral development.

Technical Abstract: This experiment was designed to test the effect of polymorphism in the cholesterol 7-alpha hydroxylase (CYP7) gene locus, and dietary cholesterol (C) on cerebrum C in neonatal pigs fed sow's milk formulas. Thirty-six pigs (18 male and 18 female) genetically selected for high (HG), or low (LG) plasma total C were weaned at 24-36 h after birth and assigned in a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments with 2 diets (0 or 0.5% C), 2 sexes, and 2 genotypes (HG and LG). Individually housed pigs consumed diets ad libitum for 42 d. Open-field behaviors was tested at wk 2 and 4. All pigs were killed at 42 d of age, the cerebrum was weighed, and C content and concentration measured. All data were analyzed by general linear model ANOVA. Cerebrum weight was greater in HG than LG pigs (P < 0.03), but was not affected by diet, or sex. Pigs fed C tended to have a higher cerebrum C concentration than those deprived (P = 0.12). At 2 wk, LG pigs explored a novel open-field environment less often (P < 0.001) than did HG pigs. At 4 wk, some LG pigs explored the open field, but fewer (P < 0.001) vs. HG pigs retreated to the safe area. There were no genotype x diet, genotype x sex, or diet x sex interactions affecting cerebrum weight, or C content, or concentration. Polymorphism in the CYP7 gene locus affected cerebrum weight, and behavior, and dietary C tended to increase cerebrum C concentration in neonatal pigs. These findings in neonatal pigs have considerable potential importance in human infant nutrition and behavioral development.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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