Estradiol Alleviates Cognitive Deficits Induced By Sub-chronic Phencyclidine Administration In Ovariectomized Rats


Clinical studies have suggested that estrogens may affect the symptoms of schizophrenia. The novel object recognition task (NORT) in female rats treated with sub-chronic phencyclidine (PCP) was used as an animal model of the cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. The current studies investigated whether chronic estradiol (E) could alleviate sub-chronic PCP-induced cognitive deficits in the NORT. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized (ovx) and treated with either sub-chronic PCP (2 mg/kg bidaily i.p. for seven days), or with 0.9% saline and their object recognition memory was tested with the NORT using an acquisition trial, 1 min inter-trial interval, and retention trial. Sub-chronic PCP administration did not reliably affect behavior in the acquisition trial but significantly impaired object recognition in the retention trial for 1-2 and 27-29 weeks. Ovx females spent significantly (p<0.05) more time exploring the novel compared to the familiar object, whereas PCP-treated ovx females did not. This effect of PCP was attenuated by long-lasting E capsules implanted prior to PCP treatment. PCP-treated females implanted with E again spent significantly more time exploring the novel compared to the familiar object (p<0.01). When ovx rats were treated with sub-chronic PCP and a long-lasting E capsule was implanted either before or after PCP treatment, estradiol alleviated the PCP-induced deficits when administered in either regimen (p=0.01 and p=0.047 respectively). These data suggest that further exploration of estradiol as a possible therapeutic compound to treat the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia is warranted.


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