Harmine treatment enhances short-term memory in old rats. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Harmine treatment enhances short-term memory in old rats: Dissociation of cognition and the ability to perform the procedural requirements of maze testing.
Physiol Behav. 2015 Jan ;138:260-5. Epub 2014 Sep 22. PMID: 25250831
Sarah E Mennenga
Harmine is a naturally occurring monoamine oxidase inhibitor that has recently been shown to selectively inhibit the dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A). We investigated the cognitive effects of 1mg (low) Harmine and 5mg (high) Harmine using the delayed-match-to-sample (DMS) asymmetrical 3-choice water maze task to evaluate spatial working and recent memory, and the Morris water maze task (MM) to test spatial reference memory. Animals were also tested on the visible platform task, a water-escape task with the same motor, motivational, and reinforcement components as the other tasks used to evaluate cognition, but differing in its greater simplicity and that the platform was visible above the surface of the water. A subset of the Harmine-high treated animals showed clear motor impairments on all behavioral tasks, and the visible platform task confirmed a lack of competence to perform the procedural components of water maze testing. After excluding animals from the high dose group that could not perform the procedural components of a swim task, it was revealed that both high- and low-dose treatment with Harmine enhanced performance on the latter portion of DMS testing, but had no effect on MM performance. Thus, this study demonstrates the importance of confirming motor and visual competence when studying animal cognition, and verifies the one-day visible platform task as a reliable measure of ability to perform the procedural components necessary for completion of a swim task.