Prenatal choline supplementation increases sensitivity to contextual processing of temporal information

Brain Res. 2008 Oct 27;1237:204-13. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.08.072. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


The effects of prenatal choline availability on contextual processing in a 30-s peak-interval (PI) procedure with gaps (1, 5, 10, and 15 s) were assessed in adult male rats. Neither supplementation nor deprivation of prenatal choline affected baseline timing performance in the PI procedure. However, prenatal choline availability significantly altered the contextual processing of gaps inserted into the to-be-timed signal (light on). Choline-supplemented rats displayed a high degree of context sensitivity as indicated by clock resetting when presented with a gap in the signal (light off). In contrast, choline-deficient rats showed no such effect and stopped their clocks during the gap. Control rats exhibited an intermediate level of contextual processing in between stop and full reset. When switched to a reversed gap condition in which rats timed the absence of the light and the presence of the light served as a gap, all groups reset their clocks following a gap. Furthermore, when filling the intertrial interval (ITI) with a distinctive stimulus (e.g., sound), both choline-supplemented and control rats rightward shifted their PI functions less on trials with gaps than choline-deficient rats, indicating greater contextual sensitivity and reduced clock resetting under these conditions. Overall, these data support the view that prenatal choline availability affects the sensitivity to the context in which gaps are inserted in the to-be-timed signal, thereby influencing whether rats run, stop, or reset their clocks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Choline / administration & dosage*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Male
  • Nootropic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Probability Learning
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception / drug effects*
  • Time Perception / physiology


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Choline