Memory deficits associated with senescence: A neurophysiological and behavioral study in the rat

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Neurophysiological and behavioral measures were obtained from 32 senescent (28-34 mo) and 32 mature adult (10-26 mo) Long-Evans hooded rats. Extracellularly recorded synaptic responses were obtained from electrodes chronically implanted in the fascia dentata and perforant path. Ss were first tested on a circular platform, which favored the use of spatial cues for its solution; the senescent Ss exhibited poorer memory for the rewarded place. When granule cell synaptic responses were recorded after a single session of very brief high-frequency stimulation, the amount of elevation and time course of decline were equivalent between age groups. After 3 repetitions, however, young Ss maintained the increased synaptic strength for at least 14 days, whereas old Ss declined after the 1st session. The amount of synaptic enhancement was statistically correlated with the ability to perform the circular platform task both within and between groups. Furthermore, the aftereffects of the high-frequency stimulation selectively impaired the old Ss' spontaneous alternation behavior on a -T maze. Results are discussed in terms of the synaptic theory of memory formation and the aging process. (78 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-104
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1979


  • circular platform responses requiring spatial cues &
  • electrical stimulation, memory deficits &
  • hippocampal synaptic responses, senescent vs adult rats
  • spontaneous alternation &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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