Ovarian Hormones and Cognition in the Aged Female Rat: I. Long-Term, but Not Short-Term, Ovariectomy Enhances Spatial Performance

Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Rachel S. Singleton, Christopher L. Hunter, Kimber L. Price, Alfred B. Moore, Ann Charlotte E. Granholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although research suggests that ovariectomy (ovx) is detrimental to spatial cognition in young rats, little work has evaluated the cognitive effects of ovx in aged rats. The authors investigated the effects of ovx in aged rats using the water radial-arm maze. In Study 1, young rats and aged rats receiving ovx 1.5 months before testing outperformed aged rats receiving sham surgery or ovx 21 days before testing. In Study 2, young rats and aged rats receiving ovx 2.0 or 6.0 months before testing outperformed aged sham rats. Aged rats exhibited estradiol and elevated progesterone levels comparable to those of young rats. The findings suggest that 1.5-6.0 months, but not 21 days, of ovx improves spatial memory in aged rats. The hypothesis that long-term ovarian hormone loss is detrimental to spatial memory in aged rats was not supported. The authors hypothesize that removal of elevated progesterone levels is related to the ovx-induced cognitive enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1395-1406
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume117
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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