Combined uridine and choline administration improves cognitive deficits in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2003 Jul;80(1):63-79. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7427(03)00024-8.


Rationale. Hypertension is considered a risk factor for the development of cognitive disorders, because of its negative effects on cerebral vasculature and blood flow. Genetically induced hypertension in rats has been associated with a range of cognitive impairments. Therefore, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) can potentially be used as a model for cognitive deficits in human subjects. Consecutively, it can be determined whether certain food components can improve cognition in these rats. Objective. The present study aimed to determine whether SHR display specific deficits in attention, learning, and memory function. Additionally, effects of chronic uridine and choline administration were studied. Methods. 5-7 months old SHR were compared with normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. (a) The operant delayed non-matching-to-position (DNMTP) test was used to study short-term memory function. (b) The five-choice serial reaction time (5-CSRT) task was used to assess selective visual attention processes. (c) Finally, the Morris water maze (MWM) acquisition was used as a measure for spatial learning and mnemonic capabilities. Results. (1) SHR exhibited significantly impaired performance in the 5-CSRT test in comparison with the two other rat strains. Both the SHR and WKY showed deficits in spatial learning when compared with the SD rats. (2) Uridine and choline supplementation normalized performance of SHR in the 5-CSRT test. (3) In addition, uridine and choline treatment improved MWM acquisition in both WKY and SHR rats. Conclusion. The present results show that the SHR have a deficiency in visual selective attention and spatial learning. Therefore, the SHR may provide an interesting model in the screening of substances with therapeutic potential for treatment of cognitive disorders. A combination of uridine and choline administration improved selective attention and spatial learning in SHR.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Choline / pharmacology*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Hypertension / genetics
  • Hypertension / psychology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Inbred WKY
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uridine / pharmacology*


  • Choline
  • Uridine