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Neurobiol Aging. 2003 Jul-Aug;24(4):615-26.

Enrichment enhances spatial memory and increases synaptophysin levels in aged female mice.

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1
Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. karyn.frick@yale.edu

Abstract

The present study tested whether environmental enrichment can reduce age-related spatial reference memory deficits and alter synaptic protein levels in aged female mice. Female C57BL/6 mice, (4 or 27-28 months), were tested in spatial and cued Morris water maze tasks. Prior to (14 days) and during testing, a subset of aged females was exposed to rodent toys and running wheels for 3h per day. The remaining aged females were group housed but were not exposed to enriching objects. At the conclusion of testing, levels of the presynaptic protein synaptophysin were measured in hippocampus and frontoparietal cortex. Enrichment improved spatial memory acquisition; relative to young controls, aged enriched females performed similarly, whereas aged control females were impaired. Enrichment also accelerated the development of a spatial bias in spatial probe trials. In contrast, the cued task was not significantly affected by enrichment. Hippocampal and cortical synaptophysin levels were increased in aged enriched females relative to young and aged controls. These data suggest that environmental enrichment can be a potent cognitive enhancer for aged females and suggests a potential neurobiological mechanism of this effect.

PMID:
12714119
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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