Section 6
Chapter 5,877

Memory deficits subsequent to chronic consumption of alcohol in mice: an analysis based on spontaneous alternation behavior

Beracochea, D.; Jaffard, R.

Behavioural Brain Research 15(1): 15-25


ISSN/ISBN: 0166-4328
PMID: 3977984
DOI: 10.1016/0166-4328(85)90014-2
Accession: 005876763

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Male mice of the BALB/c strain were given a solution of 15% ethanol as their only source of fluid for periods varying from 5 wk to 8 mo. For behavioral testing, they were compared with control groups which had received either an isocaloric solution of sucrose or tap water. Memory was tested by using spontaneous alternation behavior in a T maze. Each test consisted of 2 forced trials (acquisition) followed by a free trial (test) given at different acquisition-test intervals (from 30 s to 24 h). Results from 2 independent experiments showed that after 25 wk of ethanol administration there was an accelerated rate of decay of spontaneous alternation as a function of the acquisition-test interval. Such a phenomenon persisted after ethanol was omitted from the diet. A 3rd experiment showed that when tested on 2 successive sessions separated by a 5 h interval, experimental subjects exhibited a decreased ability to perform normally on the 2nd test. Our data are interpreted as showing that long-term ethanol administration results in accelerated forgetting and increased vulnerability to proactive interference and, as such, they are compared to the memory dysfunctions observed in amnesic patients.

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