Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin



    Fischer 344 and wistar rats differ in anxiety and habituation but not in water maze performance (2002)

    Zeitschriftenartikel / wissenschaftlicher Beitrag
    Bert, Bettina
    Fink, Heidrun
    Huston, Joseph P
    Voits, Mechthild
    Neurobiology of learning and memory : an interdisciplinary journal; 78(1) — S. 11–22
    ISSN: 1074-7427
    Pubmed: 12071664
    Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie

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    14195 Berlin
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    Abstract / Zusammenfassung

    The fact that various neuropharmacological substances have anxiolytic as well as amnesic effects suggests that neuronal mechanisms of anxiety and learning/memory closely interact. Hence, we hypothesized that differences in anxiety-related behavior could be accompanied with differences in cognition or habituation. Two rat strains with different levels of anxiety, more anxious Fischer 344 rats by Charles River (FC) and less anxious Wistar rats by Winkelmann (WW), were tested in the Morris water maze task and an open field test for habituation learning. Additionally, we investigated the effect of different light intensities on the performance in the Morris water maze and the elevated plus maze. The results of the water maze task indicate that differences in anxiety-related behavior do not go along with differences in this performance of learning/memory. Moreover, the test was not affected by different light intensities. In contrast, illumination did affect performance in the elevated plus maze test, wherein dim light provoked an anxiolytic effect in both rat strains. The findings that neither different baseline levels of anxiety nor fear modulating light conditions were accompanied by changes in the performance of rats in the Morris water maze led us to the suggestion that there is no connection between anxiety and learning/memory in this task. Contrarily, anxiety might be associated with habituation learning in the open field test, shown by the superior habituation of the anxious FC rats in comparison to the less anxious WW rats. In sum, these results indicate that anxiety and learning/memory seem to be independently regulated behaviors, whereas habituation might be more closely correlated with anxiety. Nevertheless, a general statement about the relation between emotionality and learning/memory mechanisms would be premature and the link between behaviors remains to be clarified.