Gender-based changes in cognition and emotionality in a new rat model of epilepsy

Amino Acids. 2007;32(3):317-22. doi: 10.1007/s00726-006-0418-7. Epub 2006 Oct 27.


Epilepsy research relies heavily on animal models that mimic some, or all, of the clinical symptoms observed. We have previously described a new developmental rat model of epilepsy that demonstrates both behavioural seizures and changes in hippocampal morphology. In the current study we investigated whether these rats also show changes in cognitive performance as measured using the Morris water maze task, and emotionality as measured using the Elevated plus maze task. In the water maze, significant differences between male and female rats were found in several performance variables regardless of treatment. In addition, female but not male rats, treated neonatally with domoic acid had significant impairments in learning new platform locations in the water maze. In the elevated plus maze, a significant proportion of female rats spent more time in the open arm of the maze following prior exposure to the maze whereas this effect was not seen in male rats. We conclude that perinatal treatment with low doses of domoic acid results in significant gender-based changes in cognition and emotionality in adult rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Emotions* / drug effects
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Kainic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Kainic Acid / toxicity
  • Male
  • Maze Learning* / drug effects
  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sex Characteristics*


  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents
  • domoic acid
  • Kainic Acid