Cerebellar Structure and Function in Male Wistar-Kyoto Hyperactive Rats

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Previous research has suggested that the Wistar-Kyoto Hyperactive (WKHA) rat strain may model some of the behavioral features associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We have shown that, in cerebellar-dependent eyeblink conditioning, male WKHAs emit eyeblink CRs with shortened onset latencies. To further characterize the shortened CR onset latencies seen in male WKHA rats, we examined 750-ms delay conditioning with either a tone conditional stimulus (CS) or a light CS, we extended acquisition training, and we included Wistar rats as an additional, outbred control strain. Our results indicated that WKHAs learned more quickly and showed a shortened CR onset latency to a tone CS compared to both Wistar-Kyoto Hypertensive (WKHT) and Wistars. WKHAs and Wistars show a lengthening of CR onset latency over conditioning with a tone CS and an increasing confinement of CRs to the later part of the tone CS (inhibition of delay). WKHAs learned more quickly to a light CS only in comparison to WKHTs, and showed a shortened CR onset latency only in comparison to Wistars. Wistars showed an increasing confinement of CRs to the late part of the light CS over conditioning. We used unbiased stereology to estimate the number of Purkinje and granule cells in the cerebellar cortex of the three strains. Our results indicated that WKHAs have more granule cells than Wistars and WKHTs and more Purkinje cells than Wistars. Results are discussed in terms of CS processing and cerebellar cortical contributions to EBC.

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