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Katie Grein '13 presents her SMP

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Patrick Piantadosi

Piantadosi, Patrick (2010, May). The effect of intrabasalis orexin A infusion on reversal learning performance in rats with 192 IgG-saporin lesions of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis.
Mentor: Dr. Aileen Bailey


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by hypofunction of the basal forebrain cholinergic system, which results in the memory and attentional deficits observed in individuals suffering from the disease.  Progressive neurodegeneration renders the primary source of cortical acetylcholine (ACh), the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (nBM), unable to innervate the cortex at normal physiological levels.  Recent research has implicated a group of hypothalamic neuropeptides, the orexins (orexin A and B, also known as hypocretin 1 and 2), in aiding in the efflux of endogenous ACh from the nBM to the cortex.  Microdialysis administration of orexin A (OxA) to the nBM in rats has been shown to stimulate cortical ACh release and decrease feeding latency in response to an appetitive stimulus.  No previous research has evaluated the impact of OxA administration on performance of a cortical dependent task in animals with selective cholinergic lesions of the nBM.  The current study attempted to examine the effect of intrabasalis administration of OxA on olfactory discrimination reversal learning (ODRL) performance in rats with 192 IgG-saporin lesions of the nBM.  It was hypothesized that OxA administration prior to reversal would ameliorate the reversal learning deficit characteristic of animals with nBM lesions.   Results indicated that animals with cholinergic lesions trended towards impairment during reversal, although no effect of OxA was observed on performance during any stage of the ODRL task.  Implications and possible confounds relating to cannula placement and lesion efficacy are discussed.

Read the paper (download the pdf)