A maternal diet supplemented with creatine from mid-pregnancy protects the newborn spiny mouse brain from birth hypoxia

Zoe Ireland, Margie Zakhem, Hayley Dickinson, Rodney Snow, David Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


The creatine-phosphocreatine shuttle is essential for the maintenance of cellular ATP, particularly under hypoxic conditions when respiration may become anaerobic. Using a model of intrapartum hypoxia in the precocial spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus), the present study assessed the potential for maternal creatine supplementation during pregnancy to protect the developing brain from the effects of birth hypoxia. On day 38 of gestation (term is 39 days), the pregnant uterus was isolated and placed in a saline bath for 7.5 min, inducing global hypoxia. The pups were then removed, resuscitated, and cross-fostered to a nursing dam. Control offspring were delivered by caesarean section and recovered immediately after release from the uterus. At 24 h after birth hypoxia, the brains of offspring from dams fed a normal diet showed significant increases in lipid peroxidation as measured by the amount of malondialdehyde. In the cortical subplate, thalamus and piriform cortex there were significant increases in cellular expression of the pro-apoptotic protein BAX, cytoplasmic cytochrome c and caspase-3. When pregnant dams were fed the creatine supplemented diet, the increase in malondialdehyde, BAX, cytochrome c and caspase 3 were almost completely prevented, such that they were not different from control (caesarean-delivered) neonates. This study provides evidence that the neuroprotective capacity of creatine in the hypoxic perinatal brain involves abrogation of lipid peroxidation and apoptosis, possibly through the maintenance of mitochondrial function. Further investigation into these mechanisms of protection, and the long-term development and behavioural outcomes of such neonates is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372 - 379
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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