Impairments in working memory and decision-taking processes in monkeys in a model of alzheimer's disease

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Studies were performed on two groups of animals (three monkeys in each). Monkeys of group I received unilateral intracerebroventricular injections of the neurotoxin p75-saporin (the ribosomal toxin saporin bound to monoclonal antibody to the p75NTR receptor), which elicits irreversible degradation of cholinergic neurons in the basal nuclei of Meynert, along with the enzyme dopamine-b-hydroxylase (DBH-saporin), which impairs the functioning of noradrenergic neurons in the locus ceruleus. Monkeys of group II received injections of sterile physiological saline (0.9% NaCl). Monkeys were trained to discriminate stimuli containing different types of information (spatial frequency grids, geometric figures with different colors, different spatial relationships between objects) and perform spatial selection. The characteristics of working memory were identified in delayed differentiation tasks in monkeys of both groups before and after injections. These studies provided the first evidence that the development of Alzheimer's disease in rhesus macaques is characterized by a deficiency of working memory, this being based on impairment of two components of these processes. Impairment of the first in monkeys of group I was manifest in delayed visual differentiation as a significant decrease in correct responses. The extent of decreases depended on the duration of the delay and the type of visual information. Impairment of the second component, associated with decision-taking processes, was characterized by an increase in refusals to take decisions and was independent of the duration of delays and the type of visual information. Monkeys given injections of physiological saline showed no significant differences in these characteristics. The features of impairments in these memory components resulting from the development of Alzheimer's disease demonstrate that the structural-functional organization of cholinergic and noradrenergic mechanisms responsible for sensory processing differ from those involved in decision-taking.

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