Two experiments are proposed to examine the functional status of three frontal/cingulate cortical regions in aged rats: medial frontal, anterior cingulate, and posterior cingulate cortex. These cortical regions are thought to be involved in age-related cognitive impairments in humans, but their function has not been investigated in the aged rat. Development of a rat model of frontal/cingulate cortex dysfunction would provide valuable insights into the neurobiology of aging of these cortical regions, and would have implications for treating age-related cognitive deficits in humans that are related to dysfunction of these regions. Using a novel touchscreen testing procedure, aged rats will be tested on a battery of behavioral tasks that demonstrate a triple dissociation between medial frontal, anterior cingulate, and posterior cingulate cortex function, based on lesion studies in young rats. The relationship of impairments in these tasks to a more commonly used assessment of cognitive status in aged rats, spatial learning in the water maze, will also be determined. These experiments will provide one of the first systematic evaluation of the function of these cortical areas within a well-defined neuropsychological framework, and will serve as a foundation for future behavioral and neurobiological studies of frontal lobe function in the aged rat.
|Effective start/end date||30/09/99 → 31/08/01|
- National Institute on Aging
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