Environmental enrichment decreases the afterhyperpolarization in senescent rats

Brain Res. 2007 Jan 26;1130(1):103-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.10.037. Epub 2006 Dec 13.


Previous research indicates that an age-related increase in the amplitude of the Ca2+-dependent, K+-mediated afterhyperpolarization (AHP) is related to cognitive decline. However, because the AHP is measured following completion of training, it is unclear whether the AHP amplitude is strictly dependent on biological aging or is modified by the training procedure. To address this distinction we examined the effect of environmental enrichment on the AHP amplitude. Young (5-8 months) and aged (22-24 months) male Fischer 344 rats were exposed to environmental enrichment conditions (EC) or maintained in individual cages (IC). Following 8-10 weeks of differential experience, sharp microelectrode current-clamp recordings were obtained in CA1 pyramidal neurons in hippocampal slices. Examination of the AHP demonstrated that the amplitude was significantly reduced in aged animals exposed to enriched conditions. The results indicate that the amplitude of the AHP in hippocampal pyramidal cells from aged animals is dependent on the history of experience and hippocampal activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Environment*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Housing, Animal
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism*
  • Rats