The Involvement of PTSD Arousal Symptoms in Declarative and Non-Declarative Memory
Carina Alessandro ’21
Majors: Biology and Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Victoria Templer, Psychology
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating disorder that is associated with pervasive anxiety-like arousal symptoms that result from the over-activation of the body’s stress response. In human studies, there is evidence showing that the presence of anxiety-like arousal symptoms may play a role in declarative memory (DM) and non-declarative memory (NDM) deficits. Rodent studies fail to investigate the effects of anxiety-like arousal symptoms on multiple forms of memory due to difficulties in creating a model of PTSD that encapsulates the complexities of the human disorder and an absence of tasks that effectively measure both DM and NDM. This study investigated the effects of anxiety-like arousal symptoms of PTSD-like rats on their performance in DM and NDM tasks. Single prolonged stress (SPS), which involves a threefold exposure to stressors, was used to model PTSD in 22 male Long-Evans rats, with 22 healthy controls receiving no exposure to stress. Based on their exploratory behavior on the elevated plus maze, results indicated that PTSD-like rats have higher levels of anxious-like behaviors than the healthy controls. Additionally, PTSD-like rats performed poorer on both DM (i.e., allocentric object recognition) and NDM (i.e., fixed-ratio reinforcement operant conditioning) tasks, suggesting an involvement of PTSD anxiety-like arousal symptoms in DM and NDM impairments.
4-29-2021 12:00 AM