2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Does the rodent estrous cycle affect long-term memory performance?


Mahima Thapa*, Jack W. Hooker, Ilennah Fanega, and Christian R. Castellanos
Dr. Daniela Ostrowski and Dr. Tim Ostrowski (A.T. Still University), Faculty Mentors

The estrous cycle of female rats spans ~4 days consisting of 4 phases. Estrogen levels peak during proestrus and previous studies correlated this with transient synaptic plasticity in memory-related brain areas. Using Morris Water Maze, memory performance was analyzed in female rats (7-8 weeks) in different estrous phases. With spatial cues in a round 6-foot pool, rats swam to a hidden, submerged escape platform. Memory performance was first assessed by measuring escape latency over 3 days (15 trial/day) to assess spatial/short-term memory. The average escape latency significantly decreased from day 1 to day 3. When removing the platform on day 4, time spent swimming in the previous location of the platform significantly increased, implying long-term memory. The estrous cycle was subsequently assessed by vaginal smear cytology and 4th day data was assigned accordingly. However, our data indicates that rats in different estrous phases show no difference in long-term memory performance.

Keywords: Estrous cycle, Morris water maze, Long term memory, Estrogen, Vaginal smear, Memory performance

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 8-3
Location: SUB GEO
Time: 3:00

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