Selective vulnerability of hippocampus and disturbances of memory storage after mild unilateral ischemia of gerbil brain.
The effect of selective injury of hippocampal neurons on the consolidation of memory traces was studied in gerbils (meriones unguiculatus) after production of mild cerebral ischemia. The right carotid artery was permanently ligated, and animals without gross neurological deficits ("symptom-negative" gerbils) were selected. Eight days and eight weeks after vascular ligation, cell counts of hippocampal neurons were carried out and correlated with regional blood flow and the acquisition of operant behaviour. Eight days after carotid artery occlusion, learning behaviour was significantly impaired although the number of hippocampal neurons had not changed and blood flow had even increased above normal. After eight weeks, learning behaviour and blood flow were normal but now a significant loss of pyramidal neurons was present in the CA1 and CA2 sectors of the hippocampus. Our observations demonstrate that it is possible to detect subtle functional disturbances by appropriate behavioural investigation before manifestation of selective injury of the hippocampus. Recovery of integrative function, despite persistent cellular damage, provides further evidence for central nervous plasticity.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association