The effect of anastrozol on spatial memory in adult rats

  • Július Hodosy
  • Peter CelecEmail author
  • Daniela Ostatníková
  • Marieta Cagánová
  • Zdeněk Putz
  • Peter Baláž
  • Matúš Kúdela
Research Article


Androgens are known to affect cognitive functions via organizational and activational effects. It is unknown whether the effects are mediated via the androgen receptor or after conversion to estradiol with aromatase via estrogen receptors. The aim of our study was to find out whether testosterone affects spatial memory directly or through its metabolite estradiol. Rats were treated with testosterone; with testosterone and the aromatase blocker anastrozole or saline. An 8 radial arm maze was used for testing spatial memory twice daily for 4 days. Each arm was baited with food, and the ability of animals to learn the location of food was assessed. Testosterone treated rats and control rats achieved comparable coefficients of spatial memory, although the plasma levels of testosterone differed markedly. Anastrozole treatment resulted in the worst performance in the maze. The differences between groups did not reach the level of significance. It can be concluded that aromatase and, thus, the conversion of testosterone to estradiol may play a role in spatial memory, as pharmacological blockade of aromatase led to a decrease in maze performace of adult male rats. Detailed molecular mechanisms should be the focus of further studies.


Testosterone Anastrozole Spatial abilities Aromatase 


  1. [1]
    MacLusky N.J., Naftolin F., Sexual differentiation of the central nervous system, Science, 1981, 211, 1294–1302PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Nottebohm F., Arnold A.P., Sexual dimorphism in vocal control areas of the songbird brain, Science, 1976, 194, 211–213PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Gorski R.A., Gordon J.H., Shryne J.E., Southam A.M., Evidence for a morphological sex difference within the medial preoptic area of the rat brain, Brain Res., 1978, 148, 333–346PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Jacobson C.D., Gorski R.A, Neurogenesis of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area in the rat, J. Comp. Neurol., 1981, 196, 519–529PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Weisz J., Ward I.L., Plasma testosterone and progesterone titers of pregnant rats, their male and female fetuses, and neonatal offspring, Endocrinology, 1980, 106, 306–316PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Williams C.L., Barnett A.M., Meck W.H, Organizational effects of early gonadal secretions on sexual differentiation in spatial memory, Behav. Neurosci., 1990, 104, 84–97PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Williams C.L., Meck W.H., The organizational effects of gonadal steroids on sexually dimorphic spatial ability, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 1991, 16, 155–176PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Fitch R.H., Denenberg V.H., A role for ovarian hormones in sexual differentiation of the brain, Behav. Brain Sci., 1998, 21, 311–327PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    Squire L.R., Memory and the hippocampus: a synthesis from findings with rats, monkeys, and humans, Psychol. Rev., 1992, 99, 195–231PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Simerly R.B., Chang C., Muramatsu M., Swanson L.W., Distribution of androgen and estrogen receptor mRNA-containing cells in the rat brain: an in situ hybridization study, J. Comp. Neurol., 1990, 294, 76–95PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Pouliot W.A., Handa R.J., Beck S.G., Androgen modulates N-methyl-D-aspartate-mediated depolarization in CA1 hippocampal pyramidal cells, Synapse, 1996, 23, 10–19PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Wong M., Moss R.L., Long-term and short-term electrophysiological effects of estrogen on the synaptic properties of hippocampal CA1 neurons, J. Neurosci., 1992, 12, 3217–3225PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Woolley C.S., McEwen B.S., Estradiol regulates hippocampal dendritic spine density via an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-dependent mechanism, J. Neurosci., 1994, 14, 7680–7687PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    McEwen B.S., Alves S.E., Bulloch K., Weiland N.G., Ovarian steroids and the brain: implications for cognition and aging, Neurology, 1997, 48, S8–S15PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Július Hodosy
    • 1
  • Peter Celec
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Daniela Ostatníková
    • 1
  • Marieta Cagánová
    • 4
  • Zdeněk Putz
    • 5
  • Peter Baláž
    • 6
  • Matúš Kúdela
    • 7
  1. 1.Institute of PhysiologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Institute of PathophysiologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.Department of Molecular BiologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  4. 4.Department of GeneticsComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  5. 5.National Institute of Endocrinology and DiabetologyĽubochňaSlovakia
  6. 6.Institute for Clinical and Experimental MedicinePragueCzech republic
  7. 7.Department of ZoologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia

Personalised recommendations