The article is entitled, Peripheral Delivery of a ROCK Inhibitor Improves Learning and Working Memory. Title of the journal the article was published in and date published: This article was published in the journal entitled Behavioral Neuroscience in February 2009. The journal is published by the American Psychological Association. Describe the topic and the experiment conducted. What did they do? The article noted that in related studies, the RhoA/ROCK/Rac pathway is involved in the cognitive processes. Thus, they postulated that if this pathway could be inhibited, learning and memory can be enhanced.
The article explained that fasudil has been used in experiments for the treatment of vasospasm and angina but not for learning and memory. Hydroxyfasudil is an active metabolite of fasudil. The study subjects were 27 rats who were 17 months old and 18 months old at the time of actual behavioral testing. Specifically, the study used Fischer-344 male rats who were bred at the aging colony of the National Institute on Aging at Harlan Laboratories (Indianapolis, IN). All the rats were acclimatized before the actual experiment according to IACUC standards and all the procedure done were with the approval of the local IACUC committee.
NIH standards were followed. The study was done in Arizona State University. The study grouped the rats into three experimental groups. The first group of rats received saline and was labeled as the “aged vehicle” group. The second group received 0. 1875 mg hydroxyfasudil and was labeled as the “aged low dose” group. The third group received 0. 3750 mg hydroxyfasudil and was labeled as the “aged high dose” group. Of the 27 rats, nine belonged to the “aged vehicle” group, another nine rats in the “aged low dose” group, and another nine rats in the “aged high dose” group.
Since hydroxyfasudil has a half-life of around 5-7 hours in humans, the drugs were all administered in the morning before behavior testing was done. All injections were given by subcutaneous injection at the scruff of the neck of the rat. All experimenters who performed the behavioral testing and succeeding dissections of the rats’ brains were blind to the respective treatment groups of the rats. The behavioral testing used the Water Radial Arm Maze to test working and reference memory, and the Spatial Reference Memory Morris Maze to test for spatial learning and memory.
The performance of the rats in these two mazes were compared and used as basis as to whether cognitive functions were enhanced or not with the administration of hydroxyfasudil. Summarize the most important results. What did they find and what does that mean? 4 pts The results of the behavioral testing done using the water radial-arm maze, the “aged high dose” group was superior in all measures evaluated: learning index scores for total errors, working memory correct errors, and working memory incorrect errors. Better learning was indicated by having a higher learning index. Aged high dose” group showed better learning on all three measures. The group’s learning index when compared to the “aged vehicle” group was significantly higher. As for the “aged low dose” group, it still had a higher learning index when compared to the “aged vehicle group” but only marginally for the working memory incorrect errors. For the other two measures, the group still had a higher learning index but no longer marginally, but intermediate between the “aged high dose” and “aged vehicle” groups suggesting that the relationship may be dose-dependent.
Another important result noted was that hydroxyfasudil did not significantly alter spatial reference memory performance in either maze. 5) What implications do these results have for future research? What should they look at next? The implications of study would mean that if hydroxyfasudil can inhibit events that influence cognition, the next step would be to confirm this in result in a larger number of mice or even in rabbits. They should also look into the side effects of hydroxyfasudil and a good start would be to look for the same side effects found in its parent compound which is also being currently studied. ) Does this study reveal anything that could be useful to society (the general population, not science), and if so, what is it? This study showed that if hydroxyfasudil does improve cognitive function by improving spatial learning and memory, then science has found another possible answer to age-related or neurodegenerative-related memory dysfunction.
To put it simply, hydroxyfasudil, if safe and effective in improving spatial learning and memory, will help patients who suffer from age-related or neurodegenerative-related memory dysfunction. ) What are some possible confounds or errors that this study should have controlled for, but did not? Essentially, what would make this a better study? In my opinion, this study was a good one with very negligible confounders. One thing that might have made the study better though was the possible side effects of hydroxyfasudil on the short term and also long term. 8) What did you learn that you did not know before? What did you find most interesting?
I found that fact that such a drug as hydroxyfasudil being a possible treatment for those suffering from age-related memory dysfunction, fascinating. I did not know this until I read this article. If it is indeed a possible cure, many people all over the world would live a better life in their advanced age since their memory will serve them better and they will depend less on their children and thus, have a less likely chance of being placed in homes just because families have difficulty caring for them.