High Oestradiol Replacement Reverses Response Memory Bias in Ovariectomised Female Rats Regardless of Dopamine Levels in the Dorsal Striatum

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Oestrogens influence memory system bias in female rats such that high levels of oestrogen are associated with place (or spatial) memory use, and low oestrogen levels with response (or habitual) memory use. Moreover, striatal-dependent response memory is sensitive to dopamine transmission in the dorsal striatum, and oestrogens have been shown to affect dopamine release in that brain area. In the present study, the effects of oestrogens and dopamine transmission on multiple memory system bias were explored in ovariectomised rats receiving low or high 17β-oestradiol replacement under saline, autoreceptor-activating doses of the dopamine D2 receptor agonist, apomorphine (50 and 80 μg/kg), or amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg) administration. Furthermore, dorsal striatal dopamine release was measured after administration of the same drug conditions using in vivo microdialysis. As expected, high oestradiol rats predominantly used place memory, whereas the opposite pattern was observed in low oestradiol rats. However, the high apomorphine dose statistically significantly altered memory bias in high oestradiol rats from predominant place to predominant response memory, with a similar trend in the low apomorphine dose and the amphetamine group. There was no effect of drugs on memory bias in low oestradiol rats. Rats with high oestradiol replacement receiving amphetamine exhibited greater dorsal striatal dopamine release than low oestradiol replacement rats, and this difference was amplified in the right hemisphere. Furthermore, a logistic regression analysis revealed that oestradiol, but not dorsal striatal dopamine levels, significantly predicted response memory bias. These findings provide further evidence that oestradiol modulates memory system bias, and also that memory bias is changed by systemic apomorphine administration. However, although oestradiol affects dopamine transmission in the dorsal striatum in a lateralised manner, this does not predict memory system bias.

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