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Gender influences the effect of perinatal copper deficiency on cerebellar PKC gamma content

Johnson, W. Thomas, Prohaska, Joseph R.
Biofactors 2000 v.11 no.3 pp. 163–169
copper, pregnancy, maternal nutrition, protein kinase C, protein content, cerebellum, gender differences, males, females, rats
Change in cerebellar protein kinase C gamma (PKC(γ)) content caused by perinatal copper (Cu) deficiency was determined in 22-day old rats. The offspring of dams with low Cu intake during gestation and lactation exhibited signs characteristic of Cu deficiency including anemia, greater than 90% reduction in liver Cu concentration, and undetectable serum ceruloplasmin. In addition, brain Cu concentrations were reduced 80%. No differences in the signs of Cu deficiency were observed between female and male offspring. However, cerebellar PKC(γ) content was reduced 54% (P<0.05, Tukey's test) in female offspring but only 18% (P>0.05) in male offspring. Following 6 weeks of Cu supplementation, brain Cu concentrations remained depressed in female and male rats that experienced perinatal Cu deficiency, but cerebellar PKC(γ) content was completely restored to control levels. Postnatal expression of PKC(γ) in the cerebellum coincides with and regulates cerebellar maturation. The results of the present study indicate perinatal Cu deficiency may impair cerebellar maturation to a greater extent in females than in males. However, it is not clear whether supression of PKC(γ) by perinatal Cu deficiency produces permanent neuropathology in the cerebellum because the effects were reversed by Cu supplementation.