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Adolescent Cannabinoid Exposure and Novelty Seeking: Effects on Memory in Adult Female Long-Evans Rats

Rigdon, Ashley L. (2016) Adolescent Cannabinoid Exposure and Novelty Seeking: Effects on Memory in Adult Female Long-Evans Rats. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

Past research has shown that adolescent exposure to synthetic cannabinoids in rats can produce lasting effects on the recognition memory of an object (Schneider, Schӧmig, & Leweke, 2008). Other studies have found persistent deficits in spatial memory in adult rats after they were chronically exposed to synthetic cannabinoid WIN55, 212-2 during adolescence (Abush & Akirav, 2012). Many studies lack information regarding influences of the estrous cycle on behavior and cognition. Past studies suggest that rats differ in behavior across the estrous cycle showing that rats in the estrus phase outperformed female rats in any other stage in a spatial water maze task (Warren and Juraska, 1997). Cannabinoid studies have shown that administration can negatively impact food intake (Miller & Drew, 1974). Due to the negative physiological and cognitive effects of malnutrition, it is important to account for the lack of food intake and understand its effects on behavior and cognition in adulthood. Additional research has suggested that rats exhibit innate individual differences in behavior and novelty-seeking. However, most cannabinoid research has not expanded to account for individual differences in novelty-seeking on behavior and cognition or how these differences may change after chronic exposure to cannabinoids. The current study investigates how adolescent exposure to the synthetic cannabinoid CP 55,940 and novelty seeking effect memory in adult female long-evans rats. The study utilized a second control to account for the lack of food intake in drug animals. All subjects used were female long-evans rats and were monitored for the estrous phase to analyze the impact of the estrous cycle on memory. Results indicated that drug animals ate significantly less than control animals during injections. High responder animals demonstrated less anxiety than low responders. However, the drug showed to have no effect on anxiety. Neither phenotype nor drug group influenced activity levels in rats. Drug animals demonstrated good spatial memory compared to the yoked, and control groups and recognition memory was equivalent for all animals. Overall, this study shows that cannabinoid exposure significantly decreases food intake in adolescent rats. Novelty-seeking phenotype had a limited impact on behavior but did influence anxiety across animals demonstrating that animals do have natural differences that can impact behavior. Future cannabinoid studies should monitor food intake to prevent negative outcomes in drug animals in future endeavors, and further investigate the impact that natural differences has on behavior, and memory in animals.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Ashley L. Rigdon
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2016 15:27
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2016 15:27
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/263

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