Creatine plays a crucial role in developing the brain, so much that its genetic deficiency results in mental dysfunction and cognitive impairments. Moreover, creatine supplementation is currently under investigation as a preventive measure to protect the fetus against oxidative stress during difficult pregnancies. Although creatine use is considered safe, posing minimal risk to clinical health, we found an alteration in morpho-functional maturation of neurons when male rats were exposed to creatine loads during brain development. In particular, increased excitability and enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP) were observed in the hippocampal pyramidal neurons of weaning pups. Since these effects were observed a long time after creatine treatment had been terminated, long-lasting modifications persisting into adulthood were hypothesized. Such modifications were investigated in the present study using morphological, electrophysiological, and calcium imaging techniques applied to hippocampal Cornu Ammonis 1 (CA1) neurons of adult rats born from dams supplemented with creatine. When compared to age-matched controls, the treated adult offspring were found to retain enhanced neuron excitability and an improved LTP, the best-documented neuronal substrate for memory formation. While translating data from rats to humans does have limitations, our findings suggest that prenatal creatine supplementation could have positive effects on adult cognitive abilities.
Maternal creatine supplementation positively affects male rat hippocampal synaptic plasticity in adult offspring / Sartini, S.; Lattanzi, D.; Di Palma, M.; Savelli, D.; Eusebi, S.; Sestili, P.; Cuppini, R.; Ambrogini, P.. - In: NUTRIENTS. - ISSN 2072-6643. - ELETTRONICO. - 11:9(2019), p. 2014. [10.3390/nu11092014]