Prepulse inhibition predicts spatial working memory performance in the inbred Roman high- and low-avoidance rats and in genetically heterogeneous NIH-HS rats: Relevance for studying pre-attentive and cognitive anomalies in schizophrenia

Ignasi Oliveras, Cristóbal Río-Álamos, Toni Cañete, Gloria Blázquez, Esther Martínez-Membrives, Osvaldo Giorgi, Maria G. Corda, Adolf Tobeña, Alberto Fernández-Teruel

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26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 Oliveras, Río-Álamos, Cañete, Blázquez, Martínez-Membrives, Giorgi, Corda, Tobeña and Fernández-Teruel. Animal models of schizophrenia-relevant symptoms are increasingly important for progress in our understanding of the neurobiological basis of the disorder and for discovering novel and more specific treatments. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) and working memory, which are impaired in schizophrenic patients, are among the symptoms/processes modeled in those animal analogs. We have evaluated whether a genetically-selected rat model, the Roman high-avoidance inbred strain (RHA-I), displays PPI deficits as compared with its Roman low-avoidance (RLA-I) counterpart and the genetically heterogeneous NIH-HS rat stock. We have investigated whether PPI deficits predict spatial working memory impairments (in the Morris water maze; MWM) in these three rat types (Experiment 1), as well as in a separate sample of NIH-HS rats stratified according to their extreme (High, Medium, Low) PPI scores (Experiment 2). The results from Experiment 1 show that RHA-I rats display PPI and spatial working memory deficits compared to both RLA-I and NIH-HS rats. Likewise, in Experiment 2, “Low-PPI” NIH-HS rats present significantly impaired working memory with respect to “Medium-PPI” and “High-PPI” NIH-HS subgroups. Further support to these results comes from correlational, factorial, and multiple regression analyses, which reveal that PPI is positively associated with spatial working memory performance. Conversely, cued learning in the MWM was not associated with PPI. Thus, using genetically-selected and genetically heterogeneous rats, the present study shows, for the first time, that PPI is a positive predictor of performance in a spatial working memory task. These results may have translational value for schizophrenia symptom research in humans, as they suggest that either by psychogenetic selection or by focusing on extreme PPI scores from a genetically heterogeneous rat stock, it is possible to detect a useful (perhaps “at risk”) phenotype to study cognitive anomalies linked to schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number213
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Volume9
Issue numberAUGUST
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • Cognitive deficits
  • Genetically heterogeneous rats
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Roman high-avoidance rats
  • Roman low-avoidance rats
  • Schizophrenia-relevant symptoms
  • Schizophreniform rat model
  • Spatial working memory

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