Consumption of broccoli sprouts during late gestation and lactation confers protection against developmental delay induced by maternal inflammation

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Abstract

Background:

The presence of a fetal inflammatory response is linked to cerebral palsy. Unfortunately no preventive therapies are available. In this study, we determined whether dietary supplementation with broccoli sprouts (BrSp), a phase-II enzyme inducer, would be effective in preventing the behavioural and pathologic manifestations in a rodent model of inflammation during late pregnancy.

Methods:

Pregnant Long-Evans rats were administered i.p. Injections of saline (100 μl) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 200 μg/kg), every 12 h on embryonic day (E) 19 and 20. In the treatment groups, dams were supplemented with 200 mg/day of dried BrSp from E14 until postnatal day 21. Pups underwent a series of neurodevelopmental reflex tests from postnatal day 3–21 followed by neuropathological analyses.

Results:

Pups born from the LPS group were significantly growth restricted (p < 0.001) and delayed in hindlimb placing (p < 0.05), cliff avoidance (p < 0.05), and gait (p < 0.001) compared to controls. In the open field behaviour analyses, LPS pups had an increase in grooming behaviour (p < 0.05) and a decreased amount of time spent in the center of the box compared to controls. Dietary supplementation with BrSp to offspring exposed to LPS had increased birth weights (p < 0.001), were no longer delayed in acquiring hindlimb placing, cliff avoidance, gait, and posture, and groomed less compared to LPS alone pups (p < 0.01). Histological analyses revealed that LPS pups had reduced myelin basic protein compared to controls.

Conclusions:

Our data suggest that BrSp dietary supplementation during pregnancy may be effective in preventing growth restriction and neurodevelopmental delays.

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