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Influence of anxiety in spatial memory impairments related to the loss of vestibular function in rat.
Machado ML, Lelong-Boulouard V, Smith PF, Freret T, Philoxene B, Denise P, Besnard S
U 1075 COMETE UMR, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, INSERM, Caen F-14000, France.
It is now well established that vestibular information plays an important role in spatial memory processes. Although vestibular lesions induce anxiety in humans, this finding remains controversial in rodents. However, it is possible that anxiety-related behavior is associated with spatial memory impairments after vestibular lesions. We aimed to evaluate anxiety-like behavior and the effect of an anxiolytic treatment during a complex spatial memory task in a rat model of compensated bilateral vestibular lesions. Adult rats were divided into four groups, with or without vestibular lesions and, treated or untreated by diazepam. The vestibular lesion was performed by transtympanic injection of arsanilate and compared to transtympanic saline injection. Diazepam or saline was administered 1h before each test or learning session. Vestibular-lesioned rats exhibited anxiety-like behavior which was decreased with diazepam. Spatial memory performance was similar in control-treated and untreated groups, suggesting no effect on memory at the dose of diazepam used. Spatial memory performances were not modified by anxiolytic drug treatment in vestibular-lesioned rats compared to vestibular-lesioned rats without drug treatment. We conclude that bilateral vestibular lesions in rats induced anxiety-like behavior which was unrelated to spatial memory impairment and was probably specifically related to the loss of vestibular information.
Published 28 June 2012 in Neuroscience.
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