Seminars & Events
Friday, October 4, 2013: Dr. Laurie Ryan, SMCM '86 (National Institute on Aging) will speak on "Alzheimer's Disease: Targets and Treatments" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, October 21, 2013: Dr. Greg Elmer (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Domains and Constructs in Motivation: Where Does the Habenula Fit In?" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Friday, October 25, 2013: Dr. Terry Davidson (American University) will speak on "Why We Overeat and Become Obese? It Could be What We Think!" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Dr. Gwen Calhoon '06 recently received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland Baltimore, and was inducted into Nu Rho Psi.
Cammarata, E., Kallarackal, A.J., Cai, X., Thompson, S.M., and Bailey, A.M. (2011, November). Consolidation of spatial memory in the water maze is disrupted in animals exposed to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS).
Poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
Inappropriate and maladaptive responses to chronic stress are thought to trigger a number of psychiatric disorders whose biological basis remains unknown. We have recently discovered that serotonin mediates a potentiation of excitatory synapses formed by the axons of temporoammonic (TA) inputs with the distal dendrites of CA1 pyramidal cells. We have also found that this plasticity is qualitatively and quantitatively altered as a result of chronic stress. The temporoammonic (TA) pathway is known to be critical for consolidation of long-term spatial memory. In order to determine the functional correlates of this altered synaptic phenotype, we investigated the influence of chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) on consolidation of memory in a spatial water maze (WM) task. We first trained adult rats in a water maze spatial task and then tested their short-term retention of platform location. All animals showed a significant preference for the target quadrant. Rats were then separated into the CUS or control group. CUS animals were exposed to a standard chronic unpredictable stress protocol for three weeks. During CUS exposure, rats were tested in the novelty suppressed feeding task (NSF) and for sucrose preference (SP). CUS animals showed a decline in SP by week three (p = .10) and a significant increase in latency in the NSF task (p < 0.05), indicating induction of a depression-like behavioral state. One week after the end of CUS (four weeks after the end of water maze training), animals were again
tested in the water maze for retention of spatial information via a probe trial. CUS animals spent significantly less time it the target quadrant (p < 0.05) than controls, thus demonstrating a significant impairment in spatial memory. Additionally, time spent in the target quadrant was significantly negatively correlated with latency in the NSF task (p < 0.05) and positively correlated with SP (p = 0.07). Results presented here suggest that CUS significantly alters the TA pathway and impairs consolidation of spatial memory. It will now be of interest to determine the role of serotonin in this memory consolidation process.