Early postnatal neuroactive steroid manipulation differentially affects recognition memory and passive avoidance performance in male rats

Iris Bartolomé, Anna Llidó, Sònia Darbra, Marc Pallarès*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Early postnatal neuroactive steroids (NAS) play a significant role in the neurodevelopment. Their alteration can modify adult behavior, such as anxiety or learning. For this reason, we set out to observe if neonatal NAS levels alteration affects two types of learning implying low or high levels of emotional content, such as recognition memory and aversive learning respectively. Thus, we tested allopregnanolone or finasteride administered from postnatal days 5−9. In adulthood, recognition memory was assessed using the object recognition test, as well as aversive learning throughout the passive avoidance test (PA). Because of the important emotional component of PA, which can be influencing learning, we evaluated anxiety-like behavior by means of the open field test (OF). The results indicated that those animals administered with finasteride showed higher recognition levels of a familiar object. On the other hand, they showed an impairment in a stressful learning, such as PA. However, no effects of finasteride were observed on anxiety-like behavior in OF, despite it has been reported that neonatal finasteride treatment can promote an anxiety-like profile in the elevated plus-maze test in adulthood. Regarding neonatal allopregnanolone, animals showed higher levels in OF exploration only when they were already familiar with the apparatus. Furthermore, neonatal allopregnanolone did not affect recognition memory or aversive learning. In conclusion, the neonatal NAS manipulation by means of finasteride differently affected two types of learning implying distinct stress levels. Altogether, the results show the importance of the emotional content to explain the effects of neonatal NAS manipulation on learning.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112833
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume394
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Development
  • Finasteride
  • Learning
  • Neuroactive steroids
  • Passive avoidance
  • Recognition memory

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