Sex-dependent cognitive performance in baboon offspring following maternal caloric restriction in pregnancy and lactation

Jesse S. Rodriguez, Thad Q. Bartlett, Kathryn E. Keenan, Peter W. Nathanielsz, Mark J. Nijland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


In humans a suboptimal diet during development has negative outcomes in offspring. We investigated the behavioral outcomes in baboons born to mothers undergoing moderate maternal nutrient restriction (MNR). Maternal nutrient restriction mothers (n = 7) were fed 70% of food eaten by controls (CTR, n = 12) fed ad libitum throughout gestation and lactation. At 3.3 ± 0.2 (mean ± standard error of the mean [SEM]) years of age offspring (controls: female [FC, n = 8], male [MC, n = 4]; nutrient restricted: female [FR, n = 3] and male [MR, n = 4]) were administered progressive ratio, simple discrimination, intra-/extra-dimension set shift and delayed matching to sample tasks to assess motivation, learning, attention, and working memory, respectively. A treatment effect was observed in MNR offspring who demonstrated less motivation and impaired working memory. Nutrient-restricted female offspring showed improved learning, while MR offspring showed impaired learning and attentional set shifting and increased impulsivity. In summary, 30% restriction in maternal caloric intake has long lasting neurobehavioral outcomes in adolescent male baboon offspring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-504
Number of pages12
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012



  • attention
  • developmental programming
  • learning
  • memory
  • motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this