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Title: Resting gamma power during the postnatal critical period for GABAergic system development is modulated by infant diet and sex

Author
item PIVIK, R T - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item ANDRES, ALINE - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item TENNAL, KEVIN - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item GU, YUYUAN - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item DOWNS, HEATHER - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item BELLANDO, BETTY - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item JARRATT, KELLY - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item CLEVES, MARIO - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)
item Badger, Thomas

Submitted to: International Journal of Psychophysiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/19/2018
Publication Date: 11/22/2018
Citation: Pivik, R., Andres, A., Tennal, K.B., Gu, Y., Downs, H., Bellando, B.J., Jarratt, K., Cleves, M.A., Badger, T.M. 2018. Resting gamma power during the postnatal critical period for GABAergic system development is modulated by infant diet and sex. International Journal of Psychophysiology. 135:73-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2018.11.004.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2018.11.004

Interpretive Summary: Brain activities reflected by measuring a specific "gamma" signal frequency (>30 Hertz) using electroencephalography (EEG) are thought to promote brain development and to maintain a balance of excitatory and inhibitory processes essential for normal brain function. However, little is known about either the development of this activity in infants during the first 6 postnatal months—when brain cells generating this activity are maturing and beginning to establish neural networks. Furthermore, almost nothing is known about how neonatal diets or other environmental factors influence this development. We documented changes in resting gamma power (a measure of the amount of gamma activity) from postnatal month 2 to 6 in 518 healthy infant boys and girls who were breast-fed (BF; 170), or fed cow's milk based formula (MF; 186) or soy-based formula (SF; 162). Power measures for sites from all major brain regions were analyzed, taking into account background variables known to influence neurodevelopment (gestational age, weight, head circumference, time of diet onset, socioeconomic status, and mother's IQ). Gamma power increased progressively across the study period at all sites for all groups, with higher levels in frontal than central, temporal and posterior areas. Diet influences on gamma development were evident in nearly all brain regions and were expressed primarily through interactions with sex that varied across diet groups, with greater power in BF and SF boys than girls, and in MF girls than boys. This investigation provides the first longitudinal data describing the ontogeny of gamma activity in healthy infants during the early postnatal critical period of GABAergic system development. The results reveal this development is modulated by infant diet-related sex differences. Since early brain development establishes the platform for later development, these findings may reflect changes that will influence the future development of gamma-related behavioral and neurocognitive functions.

Technical Abstract: Gamma band activity (30-50 Hz) plays an essential role in brain development and function, but neither the early postnatal development nor subject and environmental factors influencing this development have been reported. We documented the development of resting gamma power using high density EEG recordings obtained each month from postnatal month 2 to 6 in 518 healthy infants who were breast-fed (170; 85 boys), fed milk formula (186; 97 boys), or fed soy formula (162; 90 boys). Gamma power was determined for 44 sites distributed over major brain regions and analyses were adjusted for background variables relevant to neurodevelopment. The results show gamma power follows a gradually increasing function across this time period that varies in topographic magnitude and is differentially influenced by subject and environmental variables-among which gestation, head circumference, and infant diet-sex interactions figure most prominently. Relationships between gamma power and standardized measures of infant behavioral development appear to be emerging but are in flux during this time. Since this postnatal period is considered critical in the development of the GABAergic system underlying the generation of gamma activity, the observed findings may reflect organizational changes that will influence the future development of gamma-related behavioral and neurocognitive functions.