Neonatal Monoaminergic Depletion in Mice (Mus musculus) Improves Performance of a Novel Odor Discrimination Task

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This experiment examined behavior and neurochemistry in adult mice (Mus musculus) after neonatal depletion of monoaminergic fibers projecting to the neocortex and hippocampus. Lesions were made on Postnatal Day 1; mice developed to adulthood and were assessed on simple odor discrimination (SOD) and odor delayed nonmatch-to-sample (DNMS) tasks, passive avoidance (PA), and locomotor activity. On SOD, lesioned mice performed faster than controls but with similar accuracy. On the DNMS task, the lesioned mice performed faster and more accurately than controls. On PA, the lesioned mice exhibited a retention deficit relative to controls. Locomotor activity was similar in the 2 groups. Postmortem analyses revealed that the lesions reduced significantly norepinephrine and serotonin levels in both the neocortex and hippocampus. The data suggest that cortically projecting monoaminergic fibers play an important role in normal cognitive development.

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