Cognitive impairment in an animal model of multiple sclerosis and its amelioration by glatiramer acetate

Rina Aharoni*, Nofar Schottlender, Dekel D. Bar-Lev, Raya Eilam, Michael Sela, Michael Tsoory, Ruth Arnon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The severe motor impairment in the MS animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) obstructs the assessment of cognitive functions. We developed an experimental system that evaluates memory faculties in EAE-affected mice, irrespective of their motor performance, enabling the assessment of cognitive impairments along the disease duration, the associated brain damage, and the consequences of glatiramer acetate (GA) treatment on these manifestations. The delayed-non-matching to sample (DNMS) T-maze task, testing working and long term memory was adapted and utilized. Following the appearance of clinical manifestations task performances of the EAE-untreated mice drastically declined. Cognitive impairments were associated with disease severity, as indicated by a significant correlation between the T-maze performance and the clinical symptoms in EAE-untreated mice. GA-treatment conserved cognitive functions, so that despite their exhibited mild motor impairments, the treated mice performed similarly to naïve controls. The cognitive deficit of EAE-mice coincided with inflammatory and neurodegenerative damage to the frontal cortex and the hippocampus; these damages were alleviated by GA-treatment. These combined findings indicate that in addition to motor impairment, EAE leads to substantial impairment of cognitive functions, starting at the early stages and increasing with disease aggravation. GA-treatment, conserves cognitive capacities and prevents its disease related deterioration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4140
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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