Amelioration of neurobehavioral and cognitive abilities of F1 progeny following dietary supplementation with Spirulina to protein malnourished mothers.
Brain Behav Immun. 2019 Aug 16. Epub 2019 Aug 16. PMID: 31425827
Early life adversities (stress, infection and mal/undernutrition) can affect neurocognitive, hippocampal and immunological functioning of the brain throughout life. Substantial evidence suggests that maternal protein malnutrition contributes to the progression of neurocognitive abnormalities and psychopathologies in adolescence and adulthood in offspring. Maternal malnutrition is prevalent in low and middle resource populations. The present study was therefore undertaken to evaluate the effects of dietary Spirulina supplementation of protein malnourished mothers during pregnancy and lactation on their offspring's reflex, neurobehavioral and cognitive development. Spirulina is a Cyanobacterium and a major source of protein and is being used extensively as a dynamic nutraceutical against aging and neurodegeneration. Sprague Dawley rats were switched to low protein (8% protein) or normal protein (20% protein) diet for 15 days before conception. Spirulina was orally administered (400 mg/kg/b.wt.) to subgroups of pregnant females from the day of conception throughout the lactational period. We examined several parameters including reproductive performance of dams, physical development, postnatal reflex ontogeny,locomotor behavior, neuromuscular strength, anxiety, anhedonic behavior, cognitive abilities and microglia populations in the F1 progeny. The study showed improved reproductive performance of Spirulina supplemented protein malnourished dams, accelerated acquisition of neurological reflexes, better physical appearance, enhanced neuromuscular strength, improved spatial learning and memory and partly normalized PMN induced hyperactivity, anxiolytic and anhedonic behavior in offspring. These beneficial effects of Spirulina consumption were also accompanied by reduced microglial activation which might assist in restoring the behavioral and cognitive skills in protein malnourished F1 rats. Maternal Spirulina supplementation is therefore proposed as an economical nutraceutical/supplement to combat malnutrition associated behavioral and cognitive deficits.