The effect of early administration of glucocorticoids on learning and spatial memory
Synthetic Glucocorticoids are commonly administered to early low-birth weight infants to prevent the onset of chronic lung disease. During this period, the brain is undergoing significant structural and functional changes and is therefore particularly vulnerable to external influences. It has been observed that steroids administered postnatally may have transient retarding effect on learning and memory functions, and that animal age and sex may modify such effects. This study aims to illustrate the effect of early administration of glucocorticoids on learning and spatial memory. Wistar rat pups were grouped into two (control and treatment) of six pups each. 0.5mg/kg of dexamethasone was administered to four day old pups for a period of three days. At 35 days the pups were subjected to spatial memory testing. Spatial memory was assessed using a Y- Maze. It was observed that the animals in the treatment group preferred to return to the start arm or explore the other arm. This is indicative of impaired spatial memory. Steroids administered postnatally may have transient retarding effect on learning and memory functions.
Keywords: Glucocorticoids, learning, memory, brain, rat