STUDIES ON CHOLINERGIC FUNCTION AND MEMORY IN MICE (CHOLINOTOXINS, WORKING, REFERENCE MEMORY, RADIAL ARM MAZE)
Considerable evidence suggests that central cholinergic neurons participate in either acquisition, storage or retrieval of information. Experiments were designed to evaluate information processing in mice following either reversible or irreversible impairment in central cholinergic activity. The cholinergic receptor antagonists, atropine and methylatropine were used to reversibly inhibit cholinergic transmission. Irreversible impairment in central cholinergic function was achieved by central administration of the cholinergic-specific neurotoxins, N-ethyl-choline aziridinium (ECA) and N-ethyl-acetylcholine aziridinium (EACA). ECA and EACA appear to act by irreversible inhibition of high affinity choline uptake (proposed rate-limiting step in acetylcholine synthesis). Intraventricular administration of ECA or EACA produced persistent reduction in hippocampal choline acetyltransferase activity. Other neuronal systems and brain regions showed no evidence of toxicity. Mice treated with either ECA or EACA showed behavioral deficits associated with cholinergic dysfunction. Passive avoidance behavior was significantly impaired by cholinotoxin treatment. Radial arm maze performance was also significantly impaired in cholinotoxin-treated animals. Deficits in radial arm maze performance were transient, however, such that rapid and apparent complete behavioral recovery was seen during retention testing. The centrally active cholinergic receptor antagonist atropine also caused significant impairment in radial arm maze behavior, while equivalent doses of methylatropine were without effect. The relative effects of cholinotoxin and receptor antagonist treatment on short-term (working) memory and long-term (reference) memory in radial arm maze behavior were examined. Maze rotation studies indicated that there were at least two different response strategies which could result in accurate maze performance. One strategy involved the use of response algorithms and was considered to be a function of reference memory. Another strategy appeared to be primarily dependent on spatial working memory. However, all behavioral paradigms with multiple trails have reference memory requirements (i.e. information useful over all trials). Performance was similarly affected following either cholinotoxin or anticholinergic treatment, regardless of the response strategy utilized. In addition, rates of behavioral recovery following cholinotoxin treatment were similar between response groups. It was concluded that both cholinotoxin and anticholinergic treatment primarily resulted in impaired reference memory processes.
POPE, CAREY NAT, "STUDIES ON CHOLINERGIC FUNCTION AND MEMORY IN MICE (CHOLINOTOXINS, WORKING, REFERENCE MEMORY, RADIAL ARM MAZE)" (1985). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8603231.