Adopted cognitive tests for gerbils: Validation by studying ageing and ischemia

Edina A. Wappler, Géza Szilágyi, Anikó Gál, Judit Skopál, Csaba Nyakas, Zoltán Nagy, Klára Felszeghy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Transient occlusion of common carotid arteries in gerbils is a simple and widely used model for assessing histological and functional consequences of transient forebrain ischemia and neuroprotective action of pharmaceuticals. In the present study we aimed to introduce additional behavioural tests as novel object recognition and food-motivated hole-board learning in order to measure attention and learning capacity in gerbils. For validating these cognitive tests the effects of ageing (4, 9 and 18 months) and those of transient forebrain ischemia induced by bilateral carotid occlusion at 9 months of age were investigated. Neuronal cell death was estimated in the hippocampus using TUNEL and caspase-3 double fluorescence labelling and confocal microscopy. Ageing within the selected range although influenced ambulatory activity, did not considerably change attention and memory functions of gerbils. As a result of transient ischemia a selective neuronal damage in CA1 and CA2 regions of the hippocampus has been observed and tested 4 days after the insult. Ischemic gerbils became hyperactive, but showed decreased attention and impaired spatial memory functions as compared to sham-operated controls. According to our results the novel object recognition paradigm and the hole-board spatial learning test could reliably be added to the battery of conventional behavioural tests applied previously in this species. The novel tests can be performed within a wide interval of adult age and provide useful additional methods for assessing ischemia-induced cognitive impairment in gerbils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2009



  • Ageing
  • Hole-board learning
  • Mongolian gerbil
  • Novel object recognition
  • Transient ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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