The effect of rapid and depot testosterone and estradiol on spatial performance in water maze
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Men and women differ in some cognitive functions including spatial abilities. These differences seem to be affected by sex steroids, but the results are controversial. The aim of this work is to describe the effects of rapid or depot testosterone and estradiol on spatial memory in rats. Thirty-two adult male Wistar rats were divided into 6 groups. Five groups were gonadectomized, and one group was left as control. Castrated groups received sterile oil, testosterone isobutyras, testosterone propionate, estradiol dipropionate or estradiol benzoate. We evaluated spatial performance (escape latency, overall improvement, and time in the quadrant after platform removal) of the rats in a spatial water maze. Animals receiving exogenous sex steroids showed higher plasma concentrations of the particular hormones. Experimental groups improved during the acquisition spatial trials in the water maze. No significant differences between the groups during probe trial were found. In overall improvement, the testosterone depot and estradiol depot groups showed less improvement in comparison to the control groups (P<0.05). No differences in respect to administered hormones were found in corresponding receptor gene expression in hippocampus. In conclusion, exogenous testosterone affects spatial memory of adult castrated males.
KeywordsWater maze Spatial performance Testosterone Estradiol Hippocampus Rats
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