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Neurobiol Aging. 1996 Jan-Feb;17(1):143-7.

Memory impaired aged rats: no loss of principal hippocampal and subicular neurons.

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PharmaBiotec, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Odense, Denmark.


A group of 52 male, 2-year-old Ico:WIST rats were tested on the spatial reference memory version of the Morris water maze. Their performance was rated by comparisons with the performance of 2.5-month-old control rats. Unbiased stereological estimates were made of the number of neurons in the major subdivisions of the hippocampus proper and the subiculum of the 5 aged rats with the most impaired performance, the 5 aged rats with the best performance, and 5 young control rats. There were no significant differences between the mean numbers of neurons in the various subdivisions of the hippocampal region of the impaired and nonimpaired aged groups and similarly no decreases in neuron numbers in the pooled group of aged rats relative to the control rats. The results indicate that, in rats, the structural correlates of age-related deficits in spatial memory are to be found in parameters other than the number of neurons in the hippocampus proper and the subiculum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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