Neonatal caffeine administration causes a permanent increase in the dendritic length of prefrontal cortical neurons of rats.Synapse. 2006 Nov; 60(6):450-5.S
We studied the morphological changes of the dendritic length of the pyramidal neurons of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) induced by the effect of chronic administration of caffeine in the neonatal rat. The caffeine (50 mg/kg, s.c.) was injected from day 1 after birth (P1) to day 12 (P12). The morphology of the pyramidal neurons of layer 3 of the PFC was investigated in these animals at two different ages, before puberty (P35) and after puberty (P70). Before the animals were sacrificed by using overdoses of sodium pentobarbital and being perfused intracardially with 0.9% saline, the locomotor activity in a novel environment was measured. The brains were then removed, processed by the Golgi-Cox stain, and analyzed by the Sholl method. The dendritic morphology clearly showed that the neonatal animals administered caffeine showed an increase in the dendritic length of the pyramidal neurons of the PFC when compared with the control animals at both ages. The present results suggest that neonatal administration of caffeine may in part affect the dendritic morphology of the pyramidal cells of this limbic structure and this effect persists after puberty and may be implicated in several brain processes.