As clinical studies reveal that chemotherapeutic agents may impair several different cognitive domains in humans, the development of preclinical animal models is critical to assess the degree of chemotherapy-induced learning and memory deficits and to understand the underlying neural mechanisms. In this chapter, the effects of various cancer chemotherapeutic agents in rodents on sensory processing, conditioned taste aversion, conditioned emotional response, passive avoidance, spatial learning, cued memory, discrimination learning, delayed-matching-to-sample, novel-object recognition, electrophysiological recordings and autoshaping is reviewed. It appears at first glance that the effects of the cancer chemotherapy agents in these many different models are inconsistent. However, a literature is emerging that reveals subtle or unique changes in sensory processing, acquisition, consolidation and retrieval that are dose- and time-dependent. As more studies examine cancer chemotherapeutic agents alone and in combination during repeated treatment regimens, the animal models will become more predictive tools for the assessment of these impairments and the underlying neural mechanisms. The eventual goal is to collect enough data to enable physicians to make informed choices about therapeutic regimens for their patients and discover new avenues of alternative or complementary therapies that reduce or eliminate chemotherapy-induced cognitive deficits.
KeywordsPassive Avoidance Auditory Brainstem Response Conditioned Taste Aversion Progressive Ratio Serial Reaction Time Task
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