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Learning and memory impairment in adult rats due to severe zinc deficiency during lactation.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physiology & Behavior
0031-9384
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
30
Issue
3
Pages
371–381
Identifiers
PMID: 6867134
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In a series of three experiments, adult rats who suffered severe zinc deficiency and/or undernutrition during lactation were tested in a 17-arm radial maze for working memory, reference memory, forgetting and learning. In Experiment 1, eight out of 17 arms were baited. The zinc deficient (ZD) and undernourished (PF) rats revealed a learning deficit when compared to adequately nourished rats (AL). ZD rats also appeared to display a loss of working memory. No evidence of loss of reference memory was observed among any of the groups. A reverse learning procedure was used in Experiment 2 to test the same rats used in Experiment 1. ZD rats were significantly inferior in performance of the reverse learning task compared to the AL and PF rats. No significant differences in performance were noted between the AL and PF rats. Although all groups displayed forgetfulness from Experiment 1 to Experiment 2, no significant differences in forgetfulness were evidenced among the groups. In Experiment 3, all 17 arms were baited. The ZD rats displayed a significant working memory deficit as compared to the AL and PF rats. No significant differences in working memory between the AL and PF rats occurred. The possibility that the differences in performance were due to differences in food motivation or attention was considered and rejected. It was concluded that ZD rats experienced a severe learning deficit and some working memory deficit while the PF rats experienced a mild learning deficit as compared to the AL rats.

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