THE INFLUENCE OF DIET-INDUCED HYPERPHENYLALANINEMIA ON MOLECULAR NEUROCHEMISTRY AND LEARNING BEHAVIOUR IN THE RAT.
YORK UNIV TORONTO (ONTARIO) MOLECULAR PSYCHOBIOLOGY LAB
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Hyperphenylalaninemia was induced in Sprague-Hawley albino rats, either prenatally or at weaning, by dietary overloads of 7 L-phenylalanine. The condition was found to lower brain weights and RNADNA, ProteinDNA and ProteinRNA ratios but, except for inducing fatigue, did not appear to interfere with the learning of a 6-unit water-maze task. The brain weight differences and fatigue aspect of the water-maze performance disappeared when the phenylalanine diet was withdrawn, and only residual neurochemical effects remained. In lieu of evidence of a permanent retardation in learning behavior, the neurochemical results cannot be used as an explanation of the mental retardation found in human phenylketonuria. Author