Age-related structural changes in the rat hippocampus: correlation with working memory deficiency

Tamar Kadar, Michael Silbermann, Rachel Brandeis, Aharon Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Age-related histopathological changes in the hippocampal formation were correlated with cognitive performance, evaluated in rats at the 8-arm radial maze. Experiments were conducted using young (3 months), mature (12 months), middle-aged (17 months) and aged (24 months) Wistar rats. Significant memory impairments were already observed at the age of 12 months in all the measured parameters (correct choices, percent errors and total time). No further decline was observed between 12 and 17 months of age, while at 24 months additional decline was monitored mainly in the percent errors parameter. Morphometric analysis revealed a decrease in the area of cells within the hippocampus and the number of cells in the CA3 subfield. This pattern of morphological changes with age corresponded well with the cognitive impairments, with high correlation especially to lesions at the CA3 subfield. It had also been confirmed in this study that lipofuscin appeared to be a good histochemical marker for CNS cell degeneration. It is concluded that 12-month-old Wistar rats may serve as the animal model for choice for the study of specific age-related behavioral deficits and that the hippocampal CA3 region might play a major role in the age-dependent cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Volume512
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Cholinergic system
  • Hippocampus
  • Lipofuscin
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Rat
  • working memory

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