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The Effect of Caffeine on the Neurobehavioral and Neuropathological Outcome of the Newborn Rat Open Access


Other title
Newborn Rat
Preterm Infant
Neuropathological Outcome
Neurobehavioral Outcome
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Abu-Sa'da, Omar SD
Supervisor and department
Cheung, Po-Yin (Department of Paediatrics), Co-Supervisor
Yager, Jerome (Department of Paediatrics), Supervisor.
Examining committee member and department
Funk, Gregory (Department of Physiology), Supervisory Committee Member
Department of Paediatrics

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Caffeine is used for the treatment of apnea of prematurity. The objective of this study was to determine the long term neuropathological and neurobehavioral effects of caffeine on the immature rat brain. Newborn rats were injected with either caffeine, or normal saline from postnatal days 3 to 7, equivalent to the human premature infant of 28-36 weeks. Behavioral tests revealed no abnormality in caffeine treated animals compared to controls. Fluro-Jade B stain of P4 rat brains showed that caffeine caused significant neuronal cell death in some areas of the brain, compared to controls, but this alteration was transient and not present at P8. Anti-NeuN stain at P21 showed significant neuronal cell loss in CA1 and hypothalamus regions in the caffeine group, but not at P160. Anti-Neurofilament M stain at P8, P21 and P160 showed no differences between the control and caffeine groups. We conclude that use of caffeine has no significant effect on the behavioral tests measured in our newborn rat pups. While caffeine caused neuronal cell death at P4, and neuronal cell loss in CA1 and hypothalamus regions at P21, there was no long-lasting effect on neuropathological outcome. However, given these latter findings, the use of caffeine in the premature infant must still be done with caution.
License granted by Omar Abu-Sa'da ( on 2010-04-07T16:13:29Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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