Effects of aging and hypertension on learning, memory, and activity in rats

Physiol Behav. 1996 Aug;60(2):341-5.


A comparison between behavioral alterations induced by hypertension and aging was made in spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY) of different ages (3-24 months old), trained to perform autoshaping learning and activity tasks. Food-deprived rats received autoshaping training sessions during 6 days; the animals were retrained 1 month later. Two weeks after autoshaping training, the animals were evaluated in the spontaneous activity task during 2 consecutive days. The results show an age-related decrease in learning, memory, and spontaneous activity. Independently of the age group compared, WKY, though showing lower activity, learned and retrieved more than SHR. Accordingly, the reductions in learning and memory were correlated with both aging and hypertension. The combined influence of these two factors had synergistic detrimental effects on cognitive functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Hypertension / genetics
  • Hypertension / psychology*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Inbred WKY