Ovarian hormones and cognition in the aged female rat: II. Progesterone supplementation reverses the cognitive enhancing effects of ovariectomy

Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Rachel S. Singleton, Brice J. Williams, Ann Charlotte E. Granholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors hypothesized that the progesterone component of some hormone replacement therapies in women is detrimental to cognition. A previous study showed that ovariectomy (ovx) in aged rats enhanced spatial working memory and decreased elevated progesterone levels (H. A. Bimonte-Nelson, R. S. Singleton, C. L. Hunter, et al., 2003). The current study evaluated whether progesterone administration counteracts these cognitive enhancing effects of ovx. Aged sham and aged ovx rats given progesterone exhibited compromised learning of the working and reference memory components of the task, and made more working memory errors on the latter testing days compared with aged ovx rats not given progesterone. Results suggest that whereas ovx of the aged female rat enhances learning and the ability to handle numerous items of spatial working memory information, progesterone is detrimental to these aspects of performance. These findings may speak to studies in menopausal women which suggest that combination hormone therapies have a negative impact on cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-714
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume118
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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