Matching Items (22)

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Benefits of Hormone Therapy Estrogens Depend on Estrogen Type: 17β-Estradiol and Conjugated Equine Estrogens Have Differential Effects on Cognitive, Anxiety-Like, and Depressive-Like Behaviors and Increase Tryptophan Hydroxylase-2 mRNA Levels in Dorsal Ra

Description

Decreased serotonin (5-HT) function is associated with numerous cognitive and affective disorders. Women are more vulnerable to these disorders and have a lower rate of 5-HT synthesis than men. Serotonergic

Decreased serotonin (5-HT) function is associated with numerous cognitive and affective disorders. Women are more vulnerable to these disorders and have a lower rate of 5-HT synthesis than men. Serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) are a major source of 5-HT in the forebrain and play a critical role in regulation of stress-related disorders. In particular, polymorphisms of tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TpH2, the brain-specific, rate-limiting enzyme for 5-HT biosynthesis) are implicated in cognitive and affective disorders. Administration of 17β-estradiol (E2), the most potent naturally circulating estrogen in women and rats, can have beneficial effects on cognitive, anxiety-like, and depressive-like behaviors. Moreover, E2 increases TpH2 mRNA in specific subregions of the DRN. Although conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) are a commonly prescribed estrogen component of hormone therapy in menopausal women, there is a marked gap in knowledge regarding how CEE affects these behaviors and the brain 5-HT system. Therefore, we compared the effects of CEE and E2 treatments on behavior and TpH2 mRNA. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized, administered either vehicle, CEE, or E2 and tested on a battery of cognitive, anxiety-like, and depressive-like behaviors. The brains of these animals were subsequently analyzed for TpH2 mRNA. Both CEE and E2 exerted beneficial behavioral effects, although efficacy depended on the distinct behavior and for cognition, on the task difficulty. Compared to CEE, E2 generally had more robust anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. E2 increased TpH2 mRNA in the caudal and mid DRN, corroborating previous findings. However, CEE increased TpH2 mRNA in the caudal and rostral, but not the mid, DRN, suggesting that distinct estrogens can have subregion-specific effects on TpH2 gene expression. We also found differential correlations between the level of TpH2 mRNA in specific DRN subregions and behavior, depending on the type of behavior. These distinct associations imply that cognition, anxiety-like, and depressive-like behaviors are modulated by unique serotonergic neurocircuitry, opening the possibility of novel avenues of targeted treatment for different types of cognitive and affective disorders.

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  • 2016-12-08

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The GABAA antagonist bicuculline attenuates progesterone-induced memory impairments in middle-aged ovariectomized rats

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In women, high levels of natural progesterone have been associated with detrimental cognitive effects via the “maternal amnesia” phenomenon as well as in controlled experiments. In aged ovariectomized (Ovx) rats,

In women, high levels of natural progesterone have been associated with detrimental cognitive effects via the “maternal amnesia” phenomenon as well as in controlled experiments. In aged ovariectomized (Ovx) rats, progesterone has been shown to impair cognition and impact the GABAergic system in cognitive brain regions. Here, we tested whether the GABAergic system is a mechanism of progesterone’s detrimental cognitive effects in the Ovx rat by attempting to reverse progesterone-induced impairments via concomitant treatment with the GABA[subscript A] antagonist, bicuculline. Thirteen month old rats received Ovx plus daily vehicle, progesterone, bicuculline, or progesterone+bicuculline injections beginning 2 weeks prior to testing. The water radial-arm maze was used to evaluate spatial working and reference memory. During learning, rats administered progesterone made more working memory errors than those administered vehicle, and this impairment was reversed by the addition of bicuculline. The progesterone impairment was transient and all animals performed similarly by the end of regular testing. On the last day of testing, a 6 hour delay was administered to evaluate memory retention. Progesterone-treated rats were the only group to increase working memory errors with the delay relative to baseline performance; again, the addition of bicuculline prevented the progesterone-induced impairment. The vehicle, bicuculline, and progesterone+bicuculline groups were not impaired by the delay. The current rodent findings corroborate prior research reporting progesterone-induced detriments on cognition in women and in the aging Ovx rat. Moreover, the data suggest that the progesterone-induced cognitive impairment is, in part, related to the GABAergic system. Given that progesterone is included in numerous clinically-prescribed hormone therapies and contraceptives (e.g., micronized), and as synthetic analogs, further research is warranted to better understand the parameters and mechanism(s) of progesterone-induced cognitive impairments.

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  • 2015-08-14

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Navigating to new frontiers in behavioral neuroscience: traditional neuropsychological tests predict human performance on a rodent-inspired radial-arm maze

Description

We constructed an 11-arm, walk-through, human radial-arm maze (HRAM) as a translational instrument to compare existing methodology in the areas of rodent and human learning and memory research. The HRAM,

We constructed an 11-arm, walk-through, human radial-arm maze (HRAM) as a translational instrument to compare existing methodology in the areas of rodent and human learning and memory research. The HRAM, utilized here, serves as an intermediary test between the classic rat radial-arm maze (RAM) and standard human neuropsychological and cognitive tests. We show that the HRAM is a useful instrument to examine working memory ability, explore the relationships between rodent and human memory and cognition models, and evaluate factors that contribute to human navigational ability. One-hundred-and-fifty-seven participants were tested on the HRAM, and scores were compared to performance on a standard cognitive battery focused on episodic memory, working memory capacity, and visuospatial ability. We found that errors on the HRAM increased as working memory demand became elevated, similar to the pattern typically seen in rodents, and that for this task, performance appears similar to Miller's classic description of a processing-inclusive human working memory capacity of 7 ± 2 items. Regression analysis revealed that measures of working memory capacity and visuospatial ability accounted for a large proportion of variance in HRAM scores, while measures of episodic memory and general intelligence did not serve as significant predictors of HRAM performance. We present the HRAM as a novel instrument for measuring navigational behavior in humans, as is traditionally done in basic science studies evaluating rodent learning and memory, thus providing a useful tool to help connect and translate between human and rodent models of cognitive functioning.

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  • 2014-09-09

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The effects of urbanization and human disturbance on problem solving in juvenile house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus)

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Urbanization exposes wildlife to many unfamiliar environmental conditions, including the presence of novel structures and food sources. Adapting to or thriving within such anthropogenic modifications may involve cognitive skills, whereby

Urbanization exposes wildlife to many unfamiliar environmental conditions, including the presence of novel structures and food sources. Adapting to or thriving within such anthropogenic modifications may involve cognitive skills, whereby animals come to solve novel problems while navigating, foraging, etc. The increased presence of humans in urban areas is an additional environmental challenge that may potentially impact cognitive performance in wildlife. To date, there has been little experimental investigation into how human disturbance affects problem solving in animals from urban and rural areas. Urban animals may show superior cognitive performance in the face of human disturbance, due to familiarity with benign human presence, or rural animals may show greater cognitive performance in response to the heightened stress of unfamiliar human presence. Here, I studied the relationship between human disturbance, urbanization, and the ability to solve a novel foraging problem in wild-caught juvenile house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). This songbird is a successful urban dweller and native to the deserts of the southwestern United States. In captivity, finches captured from both urban and rural populations were presented with a novel foraging task (sliding a lid covering their typical food dish) and then exposed to regular periods of high or low human disturbance over several weeks before they were again presented with the task. I found that rural birds exposed to frequent human disturbance showed reduced task performance compared to human-disturbed urban finches. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that acclimation to human presence protects urban birds from reduced cognition, unlike rural birds. Some behaviors related to solving the problem (e.g. pecking at and eying the dish) also differed between urban and rural finches, possibly indicating that urban birds were less neophobic and more exploratory than rural ones. However, these results were unclear. Overall, these findings suggest that urbanization and acclimation to human presence can strongly predict avian response to novelty and cognitive challenges.

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  • 2015-05

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Does an extended washout period of six weeks following the end of chronic stress continue the benefits on spatial learning and memory?

Description

Chronic stress often leads to cognitive deficits, especially within the spatial memory domain mediated by the hippocampus. When chronic stress ends and a no-stress period ensues (i.e., washout, WO), spatial

Chronic stress often leads to cognitive deficits, especially within the spatial memory domain mediated by the hippocampus. When chronic stress ends and a no-stress period ensues (i.e., washout, WO), spatial ability improves, which can be better than non-stressed controls (CON). The WO period is often the same duration as the chronic stress paradigm. Given the potential benefit of a post-stress WO period on cognition, it is important to investigate whether this potential benefit of a post-stress WO period has long-lasting effects. In this project, chronic restraint (6hr/d/21d) in Sprague-Dawley rats was used, as it is the minimum duration necessary to observe spatial memory deficits. Two durations of post-stress WO were used following the end of chronic restraint, 3 weeks (STR-WO3) and 6 weeks (STR-WO6). Immediately after chronic stress (STR-IMM) or the WO periods, rats were tested on various cognitive tests. We corroborated past studies that chronic stress impaired spatial memory (STR-IMM vs CON). Interestingly, STR-WO3 and STR-WO6 failed to demonstrate improved spatial memory on a radial arm water maze task, performing similarly as STR-IMM. Performance outcomes were unlikely from differences in anxiety or motivation because rats from all conditions performed similarly on an open field task and on a simple object recognition paradigm, respectively. However, performance on object placement was unusual in that very few rats explored, suggesting some degree of anxiety or fear in all groups. One possible interpretation of the unusual results of the 3 week washout group may be attributed to the different spatial memory tasks used across studies or external factors from the study. Further exploration of these other factors led to the conclusion that they did not play a role and the STR-WO3 RAWM data were anomalous to other studies. This suggests that a washout period following chronic stress may not be fully understood.

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  • 2017-05

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The first in its class? The cognitive effects of the contraceptive hormone drospirenone when given with and without an estrogen

Description

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount of research has been conducted on the risks associated with DRSP, the impact of DRSP on cognition, especially in reference to learning and memory, is not well understood. However, it is imperative to fully understand the cognitive effects of DRSP, both alone and in combination with EE (as taken in a combined oral contraceptive [COC]), so that women and their physicians can make a fully-informed decision when deciding to take a DRSP-containing COC. Study 1 examined the effects of three doses of DRSP in order to determine the optimal dose for combining with EE, and found that the medium dose of DRSP (30 µg/day) enhanced spatial working memory performance. In Study 2, the medium dose of DRSP from Study 1 was combined with low (0.125 µg/day) and high (0.3 µg/day) doses of EE to examine the effects of DRSP as taken with EE in a COC. The results from Study 2 indicated that when DRSP was combined with a low, but not high, dose of EE, spatial working memory impairments were seen at the highest working memory load. Anxiety-like behavior was evaluated using the OFT, and DRSP was shown to decrease measures of anxiety-like behavior. Additionally, while treatment with a high dose of EE decreased several measures of anxiety-like behavior, a low dose of EE did not, suggestive of a dose response. Taken together, the findings presented from both studies suggest that some of the cognitive effects of the combination of DRSP with EE are different than those of either hormone administered on its own. Further exploration in a preclinical, ovary-intact animal model is a next step to fully understand these effects in the translational context of a contraceptive, given that women taking an EE-DRSP combination are typically ovary-intact.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Dogs and Cognitive Dysfunction

Description

Alzheimer's disease affects a large number of Americans every year, and research on the causes and possible prevention continues to increase. Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that causes

Alzheimer's disease affects a large number of Americans every year, and research on the causes and possible prevention continues to increase. Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior and is thought to be caused by beta-amyloid plaques that form in the brain. In recent years, dogs have been used more and more as an animal model looking at Alzheimer's disease and cognitive dysfunction. Dogs serve as a reliable animal model because effected dogs naturally form the same beta-amyloid plaques that affected humans do as they age. Previous research has shown that older dogs perform worse on various memory tasks than do younger dogs, however researchers have struggled to find a test for dog cognitive dysfunction that is brief and can be performed in the home. The current study aimed to find a brief memory task that requires few materials, but is still reliable. The results of this study do not support the hypothesis that older dogs would perform worse than younger dogs if tested to find a treat with varying time delays of 15, 30, and 45 seconds. The results of this experiment showed a main effect of age (F = 8.40, d.f. 1, 19, p < 0.01) and delay (F = 15.14, d.f. 2, 30, p < 0.01), but age-delay interaction was not significant (F = 2.53, d.f. 2, 30, p = 0.09). Future studies should be performed using a larger sample size and this same protocol to attempt to raise the participation level of the dogs.

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  • 2016-12

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An Evaluation of the Cognitive Effects of Clinically Used Combination Hormone Therapy

Description

Estradiol (E2) and Levonorgestrel (Levo) are two hormones commonly used in hormone therapy (HT) to decrease symptoms associated with menopause. Both of these hormones have been shown to have beneficial

Estradiol (E2) and Levonorgestrel (Levo) are two hormones commonly used in hormone therapy (HT) to decrease symptoms associated with menopause. Both of these hormones have been shown to have beneficial effects on cognition when given alone in a rodent model of menopause. However, it is unknown whether these hormones, when taken in combination, are beneficial or harmful to cognition. This is a critically important question given that these hormones are most often given in combination versus separately. This thesis is composed of two studies examining the cognitive effects of E2 and Levo using a rat model of surgical menopause. Study 1 assessed how the dose of E2 treatment in rats impacted cognitive performance, and found that low dose E2 enhanced working memory performance. Next, based on the results from Study 1, Study 2 used low dose E2 in combination with different doses of Levo to examine the cognitive effects of several E2 to Levo ratio combinations. The results from Study 2 demonstrated that the combination of low dose E2 with a high dose of Levo at a 1:2 ratio impaired cognition, and that the ratio currently used in HT, 3:1, may also negatively impact cognition. Indeed, there was a dose response effect indicating that working and reference memory performance was incrementally impaired as Levo dose increased. The findings in this thesis suggest that the E2 plus Levo combination is likely not neutral for cognitive function, and prompts further evaluation in menopausal women, as well as drug discovery research to optimize HT using highly controlled preclinical models.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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An Evaluation of the Cognitive Effects of a Short-Term and a Long-Term Ovarian Hormone Deprivation in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease: Addressing the Critical Window

Description

With no known cure, Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common dementia, affecting more than 5.5 million Americans. Research has shown that women who undergo surgical menopause (i.e. removal of

With no known cure, Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common dementia, affecting more than 5.5 million Americans. Research has shown that women who undergo surgical menopause (i.e. removal of the ovaries) before the onset of natural menopause are at a greater risk for AD. It is hypothesized that this greater relative risk of developing AD is linked to ovarian hormone deprivation associated with surgical menopause. The purpose of these studies was to evaluate the behavioral changes that occur after a short-term (ST) and a long-term (LT) ovarian hormone deprivation in a mouse model of AD. Wildtype (Wt) or APP/PS1 (Tg) mutation mice underwent either a sham surgery or an ovariectomy (Ovx) surgery at three months of age. Study 1 consisted of a short-term cohort that was behaviorally tested one month following surgery on a battery of spatial memory tasks including, the Morris water maze, delayed matched-to-sample water maze, and visible platform task. Study 2 consisted of a long-term cohort that was behaviorally tested on the same cognitive battery three months following surgery. Results of Study 1 revealed that genotype interacted with surgical menopause status, such that after a short-term ovarian hormone deprivation, Ovx induced a genotype effect while Sham surgery did not. Results of Study 2 showed a similar pattern of effects, with a comparable interaction between genotypes and surgical menopause status. These findings indicate that the cognitive impact of ovarian hormone deprivation depends on AD-related genotype. Neuropathology evaluations in these mice will be done in the near future and will allow us to test relations between surgical menopause status, cognition, and AD-like neuropathology.

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Date Created
  • 2017-12

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Together but not for better? Conjugated equine estrogens, estradiol, androstenedione, and their interactions on spatial memory in C-57 mice

Description

Menopause is associated with a wide array of negative symptoms. As average lifespan increases due to advances in healthcare and technology, more women are spending a larger portion of their

Menopause is associated with a wide array of negative symptoms. As average lifespan increases due to advances in healthcare and technology, more women are spending a larger portion of their lives in a menopausal state low in estrogen and progesterone. Hormone therapies such as Conjugated Equine Estrogens (CEE) and the bioidentical estrogen, 17-estradiol (E2), are commonly prescribed to treat the negative symptoms of menopause. Our laboratory has previously shown that CEE has differential effects on cognitive ability depending on whether menopause is transitional (VCD) or surgical (ovariectomy, OVX). Further, the negative impact of CEE on cognitive function in a transitional ovary-intact model of menopause was associated with high levels of serum androstenedione; the primary hormone circulating in a follicle-deplete menopausal state. Here, we investigate the cognitive effects of these two common hormone therapies separately, and in conjunction with the hormone androstenedione, in a "blank-slate" OVX mouse model. We assessed cognitive ability using two behavioral tasks such at the Water Radial Arm Maze (WRAM, measuring spatial working and reference memory) and the Morris water maze (MM, measuring spatial reference memory). In the WRAM, every treatment group saw impaired performance compared to Vehicle but the combination group of E2 plus Androstenedione. In the MM, the combination group of E2 plus Androstenedione actually enhanced performance in the maze compared to every other comparable group. Translationally, these results suggest that CEE given in the presence of an androstenedione-dominant hormone milieu is impairing to cognition, E2 in this same manner is not. These results yield valuable insight into optimal hormone therapies for menopausal women.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05