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Sex differences in activity, anxiety, and spatial memory following adolescent cannabinoid exposure in Long Evans rats

Ostrander, Matthew Ian and Jackson, Pamela and Hayes, Dayna and Pierce, Thomas W. Sex differences in activity, anxiety, and spatial memory following adolescent cannabinoid exposure in Long Evans rats. 2015. Radford University, Thesis. Radford University Scholars' Repository.

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The effects of cannabinoids and the change in food intake of rats have been largely ignored. The decreased food intake of the drug rats should have an effect on the behaviors of the drug rats that is ignored in other research. This study accounted for the feeding changes and measured whether any difference were found across drug use and food intake. Measures were also taken across sexes in Long-Evans rats. The rats were exposed to cannabinoids during adolescence and measured behaviorally after they had reached adulthood. Overall, the study found that while drugs had an effect on anxiety, it was sex dependent, with male rats expressing significant anxiolytic effects on the elevated plus maze and open-field; female drug rats expressed a trend towards anxiolytic effects on the elevated plus maze, but less significantly than the male drug rats. Performance of rats on the Morris Water Maze spatial memory task showed that decreased food intake correlated with a deficit in acquisition in male rats, but not female. In the reversal-learning task, memory extinction occurred in drug male rats faster than in the male control rats, suggesting that they were capable of learning the new location of the platform faster due to drug use. The male yoked rats also found the platform faster than the control rats, which reinforces the importance of continuing research in long-term food manipulation. Consistent differences in sex were seen in which female rats were much more active than males. Additionally, in the Morris Water Maze task, females were consistently worse at the task when compared to males, often taking much longer to find the platform and traveling further to do so during acquisition. These findings show the value of studying both male and female subjects, as research assumes that females and males are the same when doing research, but clearly there are differences between them.

Item Type: Thesis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Radford University > College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences > Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2016 15:35
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 18:22

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