Deficits of spatial learning and working memory in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Behav Brain Res. 1996 Jan;74(1-2):217-27. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(95)00165-4.


It is possible that behavioral dysfunction, including cognitive, perceptual and psychomotor impairments in hypertensive subjects, can be the result of the high blood pressure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of the spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) in the acquisition and execution of tasks in an 8-arm radial maze. Male Wistar normotensive rats (CON, n = 11) and SHR (n = 12), 3 months old, were first submitted to a series of training sessions to enter each of the 8 arms once in a given session (task acquisition), and errors (revisiting an arm in the same session) were computed. Errors before and after two delay intervals (5 s and 1 h, introduced between the fourth and fifth arm choice) were measured. These delayed tests allowed us to evaluate the working memory in different terms. It was observed that the SHR group made slightly more errors during the acquisition sessions and in the execution of the post-delay of 5-s interval tests, and significantly in the execution of the post-delay of 1-h interval tests compared to the CON. These results show that the SHR has a deficiency in the performance of the radial maze, suggestive of impairment of learning and working memory, mainly for a long-term memory, corroborating the hypothesis about the possible behavioral consequences of hypertension.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hypertension / genetics
  • Hypertension / psychology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Wistar