Westhead C, Saari RK, Morrison P, Williams PT, Saari MJ (2000) Nucleus basalis magnocellularis and enriched housing: Partners in neural patterns of attention?. Neuroscience 2000 Abstracts 837.3. Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA.
Summary: Diminished levels of cholinergic markers in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients led to the belief that central cholinergic systems play a major role in cognitive processes including attention and memory. Recent evidence from our laboratory suggests that housing rats in a complex environment alters neuronal attentional circuitry. These findings led to the design of the current experiment. After weaning, groups of female Wistar rats received either a bilateral infusion of 192-IgG saporin or vehicle solution into the basal forebrain. Following recovery, rats were either housed in an enriched condition or in isolated housing for two weeks, thus creating four treatment groups. Open field testing revealed the expected Housing by Minute interaction but no lesion related effects. The rats were also tested in an incidental learning paradigm. Briefly, half of the rats were pre-exposed to the testing apparatus in the testing room, whereas the other half were placed in a similar arena but in a separate room without task-specific cues. Analysis of the results revealed a significant interaction between the lesion and housing condition as a function of the pre-exposure. As expected, pre-exposure facilitated learning for all sham operated rats but the lesioned enriched rats performed in a paradoxical manner. These rats appeared to be confused by the pre-exposure to the testing apparatus. The findings suggest an inability of enriched lesioned subjects to distinguish between behaviourally relevant and irrelevant stimuli and are in general agreement with the findings of Kilgard and Merzenich (1998). (Approved by the Animal Care Committee, Nipissing University).
Related Products: 192-IgG-SAP (Cat. #IT-01)