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Resilient and depressive-like rats show distinct cognitive impairments in the touchscreen paired-associates learning (PAL) task



Resilient and depressive-like rats show distinct cognitive impairments in the touchscreen paired-associates learning (PAL) task



Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 155: 287-296



Depression-associated cognitive impairments persist after remission from affective symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD), decreasing quality of life and increasing risk of relapse in patients. Conventional antidepressants are ineffective in restoring cognitive functions. Therefore, novel antidepressants with improved efficacy for ameliorating cognitive symptoms are required. For tailoring such antidepressants, translational animal models are in demand. The chronic mild stress (CMS) model is a well-validated preclinical model of depression and known for eliciting the MDD core symptom "anhedonia" in stress-susceptible rats. Thus, cognitive performance was assessed in rats susceptible (depressive-like) or resilient to CMS and in unchallenged controls. The rodent analogue of the human touchscreen Paired-Associates Learning (PAL) task was used for cognitive assessment. Both stress groups exhibited a lack of response inhibition compared to controls while only the depressive-like group was impaired in task acquisition. The results indicate that cognitive deficits specifically associate with the anhedonic-like state rather than being a general consequence of stress exposure. Hence, we propose that the application of a translational touchscreen task on the etiologically valid CMS model, displaying depression-associated cognitive impairments, provides a novel platform for pro-cognitive and clinically pertinent antidepressant drug screening.

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Accession: 065478740

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30138691

DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2018.08.014


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