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Behav Brain Res. 2013 Jan 15;237:207-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.09.029. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

ApoE isoform modulates effects of cranial ⁵⁶Fe irradiation on spatial learning and memory in the water maze.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, United States.


Apolipoprotein E, which plays an important role in lipid transport and metabolism and neuronal repair, might modulate the CNS risk following (56)Fe irradiation exposure during space missions. In this study, we investigated this risk by behavioral and cognitive testing male E2, E3, and E4 mice 3 months following cranial (56)Fe irradiation. In the open field, mice irradiated with 2 Gy showed higher activity levels than sham-irradiated mice or mice irradiated with 1 Gy. In addition, E2 mice showed higher activity and lower measures of anxiety than E3 and E4 mice in the open field and elevated zero maze. During hidden platform training, sham-irradiated mice showed most robust learning, 1 Gy irradiated mice reduced learning, and 2 Gy irradiated mice no improvement over the four sessions. In the water maze probe trials, sham-irradiated E2, E3, and E4 mice and E2 and E4 mice irradiated with 1 Gy showed spatial memory retention, but E3 mice irradiated with 1 Gy, and E2, E3, and E4 mice irradiated with 2 Gy did not. Thus, cranial (56)Fe irradiation increases activity levels in the open field and impairs spatial learning and memory in the water maze. E3 mice are more susceptible than E2 or E4 mice to impairments in spatial memory retention in the water maze, indicating that apoE isoform modulates the CNS risk following space missions.

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