Low prepulse inhibition predicts lower social interaction, impaired spatial working memory, reference memory and cognitive flexibility in genetically heterogeneous rats.

D Sampedro-Viana, T Cañete, L Mourelo, I Oliveras, N Peralta-Vallejo, A Tobeña, A Fernández-Teruel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The “Genetically Heterogeneous National Institutes of Health (NIH[sbnd]HS)” stock rat (hereafter HS) shows a wide phenotypic variation, as a result of having been derived from eight inbred rat strains. Thus, these rats may be a conceivable parallel model of a healthy human sample. In order to evaluate whether HS rats have face validity as an animal model of schizophrenia-relevant features, it should be demonstrated that they present behavioural traits that may model negative and cognitive symptoms of the disorder. Previous studies on HS rats have shown that prepulse inhibition (PPI, a measure of sensorimotor gating processes), which is impaired in schizophrenic patients, is correlated with their working memory performance. In this study, we evaluated whether low PPI in the HS stock rat predicts impairments of spatial working memory (SWM), spatial reference memory and cognitive flexibility in the Morris water maze (MWM) test, and we evaluated HS rats for social interaction (SI) in a social investigation task. HS rats were stratified into 2 different groups according to their PPI scores, i.e. low- and high-PPI. In the SI task, low-PPI rats showed decreased social behaviour compared to high-PPI rats. In addition, relative to high-PPI HS rats, the low-PPI group displayed poorer SWM performance, impaired cognitive flexibility (in a reversal task) and worsened long-term spatial memory. Such differential behaviours in social and cognitive paradigms provide evidence on the face validity of low-PPI HS rats as a model of negative-like and cognitive schizophrenia-relevant traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114355
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Volume271
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

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