Document Detail

Wistar rats with high versus low rearing activity differ in radial maze performance.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16616527     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Substantial work has shown that rats although identical in stock, sex, age, and housing conditions can differ considerably in terms of behavior and physiology. Such individual differences, which can be detected by specific behavioral screening tests, are rather stable, that is, they probably reflect a behavioral disposition or trait. Here, we asked whether and how such differences might affect performance in a task of spatial learning and memory, the radial maze. As in our previous work, we used the degree of rearing activity in a novel open field to assign male adult outbred Wistar rats into those with high versus low rearing activity (HRA/LRA rats). They were then tested in a plus-maze for possible differences in anxiety-related behavior. Finally, and most importantly, they were food deprived and underwent maze training using an 8-arm radial maze with four non-baited and four baited arms. One of these arms consistently contained a larger bait size than the other three. In the open field, HRA rats not only showed more rearing behavior, but also more locomotor activity than LRA rats. In the plus-maze, HRA rats again showed more locomotion, but did not differ in open arm time or percentage of open arm entries, that is, conventional measures of anxiety-related behavior. In the radial maze, HRA rats consistently needed less time to consume all pellets than LRA rats, which was due to faster locomotion on the arms and less time spent at the food pits (especially in baited arms) of HRA rats. During the initial days of training, they were also more efficient in obtaining all food pellets available. Furthermore, HRA rats visited more arms and made relatively less reference memory errors than LRA rats. This allowed them to forage food quickly, but was paralleled by more working memory errors than in LRA rats. In general, working memory errors were more frequent in the arm with the large bait size, but there were no indications that HRA and LRA rats responded differently dependent on reward size. Finally, LRA rats lost slightly more weight than HRA rats during the period of food deprivation. These results are discussed with respect to the role of cognitive and motivational mechanisms, which as subject-inherent factors can contribute substantially to inter-individual variability in the radial maze.
Jutta Görisch; Rainer K W Schwarting
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-04-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Neurobiology of learning and memory     Volume:  86     ISSN:  1074-7427     ISO Abbreviation:  Neurobiol Learn Mem     Publication Date:  2006 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-08-29     Completed Date:  2006-11-28     Revised Date:  2007-10-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9508166     Medline TA:  Neurobiol Learn Mem     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  175-87     Citation Subset:  IM    
Experimental and Physiological Psychology, Philipps-University of Marburg, Gutenbergstr. 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Animals, Outbred Strains
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
Genetics, Behavioral / methods
Maze Learning / physiology*
Memory / physiology
Motor Activity / physiology*
Rats, Wistar
Species Specificity
Temperament / physiology*

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