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Supplemental vitamin B-12 enhances the neural response to sensory stimulation in the barrel cortex of healthy rats but does not affect spontaneous neural activity

Kang, S., Hayashi, Y., Bruyns-Haylett, M., Baker, D. K., Boura, M., Wang, H., Karatzas, K.-A., Serra, I., Bithell, A., Williams, C., Field, D. and Zheng, Y. (2019) Supplemental vitamin B-12 enhances the neural response to sensory stimulation in the barrel cortex of healthy rats but does not affect spontaneous neural activity. Journal of Nutrition, 149 (5). pp. 730-737. ISSN 1541-6100

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxz011


Background: Although vitamin B-12 (B-12) is known to contribute to the structural and functional development of the brain, it is unclear if B-12 supplementation has any beneficial effect in healthy populations in terms of enhanced neurological status of the brain or improved cognitive function. Objectives: We investigated the effect of dietary supplementation of B-12 on the cortical neural activity of well-nourished young adult rats and tested the hypothesis that B-12 supplementation in healthy rats may reduce sensory evoked neural activity due to enhanced inhibition. Methods: Female Lister Hooded rats weighing between 190g to 265g (2 to 4 months old) were included in the study. The experimental group was fed with B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) enriched water at a concentration of 1mg/L, and the control (CON) group with tap water for 3 weeks. Animals were then anaesthetised and cortical neural responses to whisker stimulation were recorded in vivo using a multi-channel micro-electrode, from which local field potentials (LFPs) were extracted. Results: Somatosensory evoked LFP was enhanced 25% in the B-12 group (4.13±0.24mV) compared with the CON group (3.30±0.21mV) (P=0.02). Spontaneous neural activity did not differ between groups; frequency spectra at each frequency bin of interest did not pass the cluster-forming threshold at the 5% significance level. Conclusions: These findings do not provide evidence supporting the hypothesis of decreased neural activity due to B-12 supplementation. As the spontaneous neural activity was unaffected, the increase in somatosensory evoked LFP may be due to enhanced afferent signal reaching the barrel cortex from the whisker pad, indicating that B-12 supplemented rats may have enhanced sensitivity to sensory stimulation compared to the CON group. We suggest that this enhancement might be the result of lowered sensory threshold, although the underlying mechanism has yet to be elucidated.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
ID Code:81678
Publisher:American Society for Nutrition


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