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Physiol Behav. 1985 Jun;34(6):883-7.

Disrupting circadian rhythms in rats induces retrograde amnesia.


Disrupting circadian organization in rats by phase-shifting the illumination cycle or by exposure to a reversed day/night cycle or to continuous light, resulted in retrograde amnesia for passive avoidance behavior. This retrograde amnesia induced by phase-shifting lasted at least 2 days, and gradually diminished the longer the rats were exposed to the new illumination cycle. Retention performance was not impaired when rats were exposed to phase-shifting for 3-5 days before the learning trial. The retrograde amnesia due to changing the illumination cycle is probably due to retrieval disturbances. Extinction of active avoidance behavior was facilitated in rats exposed to a phase-shifted illumination cycle, but social and explorative behavior of rats tested in dyadic encounters were not affected by changing the normal illumination cycle. It is concluded that phase-shifting may result in amnesia for newly learned behavioral responses, but not for more innate behavioral patterns.

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