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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1999 May;19(5):483-94.

Spatial cognitive performance after chronic focal cerebral ischemia in rats.

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Central Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Japan Tobacco Inc., Osaka.


The authors investigated the impairment of spatial cognitive performance in rats with chronic focal cerebral ischemia using the Morris maze, and examined the correlation between this deficit and other behavioral changes, such as step-through latency in passive avoidance task and neurologic score, or pathologic changes. The authors focused on the relationship between the damaged brain region and the affected spatial learning behavior. In the Morris maze task at 8 weeks after the middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion, escape latency, swimming path length, and percent time spent in goal quadrant of MCA-occluded rats were impaired, which correlated with shrinkage of the cortex involving parietal cortex, but not caudate-putamen (CP). Middle cerebral artery-occluded rats were also impaired in the percent time spent in the outermost annulus and in turning ratio, which significantly correlated with shrinkage of CP, but not cortex. Middle cerebral artery-occluded rats showed two typical search patterns; one was almost the same as that of sham-operated and intact rats, and the other was round shaped and had less turning behavior. Both subgroups of MCA-occluded rats divided by turning ratio had significantly impaired spatial cognitive performance, which indicates that the changes of search pattern did not affect cognitive performance in the Morris maze. The neurologic deficits recovered gradually after MCA occlusion, which correlated with shrinkage of cortex and CP. The step-through latency in passive avoidance task of the MCA-occluded rats was impaired, but did not correlate with shrinkage of cortex or CP. These results suggest that the long-term spatial cognitive deficit of MCA-occluded rats is in part associated with damage to the cortex involving parietal cortex, and that the change of search strategies is associated with damage to CP. These findings support the idea that different brain regions contribute differently to cognitive performance, search strategies, avoidance task, and neurologic performance, and may be useful for estimating the related region of functional disorder in the clinical situation.

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