Studies have shown that ovarian hormones protect against some of the cognitive deficits associated with aging. Although much of the literature in rodents has focused on hippocampal dependent tasks, studies suggest that tasks dependent on the prefrontal cortex are also influenced by ovarian hormones. The present study investigated the effects of ovarian hormone treatment during aging on a delayed alternation t-maze. Female Long Evans hooded rats were ovariectomized at middle age (11-12 months) and placed in 1 of 5 treatment groups: no replacement, chronic estradiol (E2), cyclic E2, chronic E2 and progesterone, or chronic E2 and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). Following 6 months of hormone treatment, animals were trained to alternate in a t-maze. After reaching criterion, a series of delays from 5 to 90 s were introduced in random order. Rats receiving E2 with MPA reached criterion significantly faster than animals not receiving treatment and those who received chronic or cyclic E2 only. There was a nonsignificant trend for animals receiving E2 and progesterone to reach criterion in fewer sessions than animals receiving E2 only. Mode of administration, cyclic or chronic, did not affect performance. Hormones did not affect performance on the delayed alternation. This study, in combination with previous research, indicates that hormone effects cannot be generalized across tasks, age, or duration, and long-term estrogen in combination with MPA can be beneficial for some tasks.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Feb 2012|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience