Natalia Surzenko1 ,2, Isis Trujillo-González 1 and Steven H Zeisel 1,2 (2016). Low Intake of Choline During Pregnancy Leads to Aberrant Retinal Architecture and Poor Visual Function in the Offspring. The FASEB Journal, 30(1).
1. Nutrition Research Institute, UNC Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC
2. Department of Nutrition, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Choline, an essential nutrient, regulates brain development through its role in maintaining the pool of neural progenitor cells. The role of choline in the development of the retina, however, is unknown. In this study, we modulated choline intake in mice during pregnancy and assessed the effects of low choline (LC) diet on the development and function of the retina in the offspring. We find that adequate dietary supply of choline between days 11 and 17 of mouse gestation is required to support the proliferation and differentiation of retinal progenitor cells. Furthermore, retinal structural integrity is disrupted in the embryos of dams receiving LC diet as early as embryonic day 17. As a result of aberrant retinal development, retinal function is abnormal in LC animals, as measured by electroretinography and assessment of visuomotor behavior. Together, our data demonstrate an essential role for choline in retinal health.