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

  • Author / Creator
    Abu-Sa'da, Omar SD
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.