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Behav Neurosci. 2002 Apr;116(2):351-6.

Long-term study of chronic oral aluminum exposure and spatial working memory in rats.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute for Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Fostererhill, Scotland.


The authors report an effort to advance animal models that mimic the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's disease. Rats were trained and repeatedly tested in a spatial delayed matching-to-position paradigm in the water maze, with the location of the submerged platform changing between, but not within, days. After Trial 1 (random search) and intertrial intervals of 30 s or 1 hr, memory was tested in Trial 2. Young rats quickly acquired this task and were repeatedly tested after different intervals over 7 months, with a slight increase in performance toward the end of testing, but no difference in latencies between delays. Oral long-term treatment of 1 group with 0.1% aluminum caused no delay-dependent working memory deficit. This testing protocol may enable between- and within-subject long-term assessment of spatial working memory before and after drug treatment and may prove useful in animal models of progressive cognitive decline.

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