Spatial working memory in the touchscreen operant platform is disrupted in female rats by ovariectomy but not estrous cycle

Sbisa, Alyssa M., Gogos, Andrea, and van den Buuse, Maarten (2017) Spatial working memory in the touchscreen operant platform is disrupted in female rats by ovariectomy but not estrous cycle. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 144. pp. 147-154.

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Learning and memory deficits have been described in rats and mice after ovariectomy (OVX) and across the estrous cycle. Preclinical researchers therefore often avoid using female animals and, consequently, a large male bias exists in the preclinical cognitive literature. In the present study we examined the role of sex hormones in the touchscreen operant platform using the spatial working memory trial unique nonmatching-to-location (TUNL) task.

Twenty-nine Long Evans rats were trained to acquire the TUNL task including three incremental spatial separations (SO, S1, 52). Following 20 consecutive days of training, subjects in experiment 1 (n = 15) remained intact and immediately progressed to TUNL testing, while subjects in experiment 2 were OVX (n = 6) or sham-operated (n = 8) prior to testing. Subjects were tested on 4 spatial separations (S0-3) with a 1 s or 6 s delay between the sample and nonmatching stimuli. The estrous cycle of intact rats was monitored during the 4 weeks of testing.

The estrous cycle phase did not significantly affect performance. In contrast, compared to intact rats, OVX impaired performance at larger spatial separations (S2-3) during the 1 s delay condition. Further, during the 6 s delay, OVX impaired S2 performance, however not 53. Our results suggest a probable shift in cognitive strategy following OVX, when tested with a large and novel spatial separation. Our findings suggest that ovarian hormone deprivation following OVX, but not estrous cycle, impairs spatial working memory as measured by the TUNL task. This research is relevant for future studies utilising the touch screen TUNL task and for cognitive testing of female rats.

Item ID: 51163
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9564
Keywords: ovariectomy, estrogen, touchscreen, TUNL, spatial working memory, Long Evans rats
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Jared Purton Foundation, Victorian Government (VG)
Projects and Grants: VG Operational Infrastructure Support Program
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 07:44
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3205 Medical biochemistry and metabolomics > 320599 Medical biochemistry and metabolomics not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences @ 100%
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