Sub-regional hippocampal vulnerability in various animal models leading to cognitive dysfunction
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Various animal models, involving different brain insults, lead to memory deficits, which can be measured using behavioral tests. In numerous studies, using five different experimental models in rats, we have found that cognitive dysfunction is invariably accompanied by hippocampal CA1 and CA3 pyramidal cells degeneration. However, of these two, the most affected area changes from one model to the other. The present manuscript describes and compares the morphological alterations within the hippocampus in the following experimental models: normal aging, hypoxia, prolonged corticosterone administration, brain ischemia and cholinesterase (ChE) inhibition. In all the above, many hippocampal neurons were severely damaged, however, CA3 pyramidal cells were mostly affected in normal aging and following hypobaric hypoxia, whereas CA1 cells were especially affected following corticosterone administration, global ischemia and ChE inhibition.
Several mechanisms, which might be involved in the diverse courses of the lesions are being considered: cerebral oxygen and glucose, glutamate neurotoxicity and calcium involvement. It is anticipated that elucidation of the specific role of CA1 and CA3 hippocampal sub-fields in the various experimental models might help in understanding processes such as age-related neuronal degeneration and assist in their prevention.
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