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Effects of basal forebrain cholinergic lesions on spatial learning in male and female rats.

Rodefer JS, Jonasson Z, Cahill JF, Tobey RE, Baxter MG (2001) Effects of basal forebrain cholinergic lesions on spatial learning in male and female rats. Neuroscience 2001 Abstracts 314.16. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: Studies with a selective toxin for basal forebrain cholinergic neurons have consistently found little spatial learning impairment in rats with lesions limited to basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. However, the basal forebrain cholinergic system is extensively modulated by estrogen and related sex hormones. Furthermore, female mice are more susceptible than male mice to scopolamine-induced impairments in water maze performance (Berger-Sweeney et al., 1995). Hence, behavioral effects of selective cholinergic lesions may differ between male and female rats, a possibility that has not been directly assessed experimentally. In the present study, male and female Long-Evans rats were given injections of 192 IgG-saporin into the medial septum/vertical limb of the diagonal band (MS/VDB), or a control surgery, and postoperatively tested on several spatial learning tasks in the Morris water maze. On place acquisition, female control rats performed worse than male controls; MS/VDB-lesioned rats performed identically to male controls, regardless of sex. Male rats performed better than female rats on reversal of place discrimination, regardless of lesion status. In a test of place learning strategy, cholinergic lesions appeared to enhance the use of a spatial (vs. a motor response strategy) in rats of both sexes. Hence, female rats are not more susceptible to place learning impairment following loss of cholinergic input to the hippocampus; indeed these lesions seem to enhance place learning in female rats. Furthermore, removal of cholinergic input to the hippocampus seems to enhance the selection of a spatial strategy.

Related Products: 192-IgG-SAP (Cat. #IT-01)

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