Pretest Administration of Glucose Attenuates Infantile Amnesia for Passive Avoidance Conditioning in Rats

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Developmental Psychobiology

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infantile amnesia, rats, glucose, memory reactivation




Infantile amnesia in rats may be attenuated by a wide variety of retrieval cues which reactivate memory for the training episode. The present study investigated the effects of glucose on memory retrieval in infant rats. In Experiment 1, 17-day-old preweanling rats were trained to criterion on passive avoidance conditioning. Twenty-four hours later, each subject received a subcutaneous injection of either saline, 100 mg/kg, or 250 mg/kg of glucose just prior to testing. Saline animals displayed poor retention scores, suggesting infantile amnesia; however, glucose significantly attenuated the 24-hr retention loss. Experiment 2 attempted to replicate the previous experiment, control for age and general drug effects, and extend the dose of glucose to 400 mg/kg. The results of Experiment 2 were consistent with Experiment 1 and also indicated that infant subjects performed significantly worse than adults. Both 100 and 250 mg/kg of glucose significantly attenuated infantile amnesia; however, 400 mg/kg had no effect. These results support a retrieval failure view of infantile amnesia and extend the memory-influencing properties of glucose to infants. Context and neuroendocrine views of memory retrieval are discussed.

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