Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy Accelerates the Development of Cognitive Deficits in Offspring in a Model of Tauopathy

Front Cell Neurosci. 2019 Oct 1;13:438. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00438. eCollection 2019.


Psychoactive drugs used during pregnancy can affect the development of the brain of offspring, directly triggering neurological disorders or increasing the risk for their occurrence. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug, including during pregnancy. In Wild type mice, early life exposure to caffeine renders offspring more susceptible to seizures. Here, we tested the long-term consequences of early life exposure to caffeine in THY-Tau22 transgenic mice, a model of Alzheimer's disease-like Tau pathology. Caffeine exposed mutant offspring developed cognitive earlier than water treated mutants. Electrophysiological recordings of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells in vitro revealed that early life exposure to caffeine changed the way the glutamatergic and GABAergic drives were modified by the Tau pathology. We conclude that early-life exposure to caffeine affects the Tau phenotype and we suggest that caffeine exposure during pregnancy may constitute a risk-factor for early onset of Alzheimer's disease-like pathology.

Keywords: Alzheimer; caffeine; development; hippocampus; learning; memory; synaptic currents; tauopathy.