Preserved spatial memory in old rats survives 10 months without training
Aged rats with extensive prior training on the radial maze retain the capacity for accurate spatial working memory (WM) for at least 3 months without practice. To investigate the temporal limits of this influence of prior experience we compared the reacquisition of spatial WM by a group of experienced 21.5-month-old rats to the original acquisition by naive 3-month-old rats. The aged rats had received 225 radial maze tests between 3 and 11 months of age. Despite 10 months without practice the old rats rapidly reacquired critical performance. Their reacquisition was markedly superior to original learning by the young rats, even when delays as long as 5 h were imposed between the rats' fourth and fifth choices during the daily tests in the eight-arm maze. Additional tests showed that neither young nor old rats employed a response strategy to maintain accurate spatial WM performance. Experience clearly confers long-lived protection against the otherwise deleterious effects of aging on spatial WM, but the mechanism by which this influence arises is unknown. © 1986 Academic Press, Inc.
Behavioral and Neural Biology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Bierley, Rex A.; Rixen, Gloria J.; Tröster, Alexander I.; and Beatty, William W., "Preserved spatial memory in old rats survives 10 months without training" (1986). Clinical Neuropsychology. 110.