Combination of chronic stress and ovariectomy causes conditioned fear memory deficits and hippocampal cholinergic neuronal loss in mice

K. Takuma, H. Mizoguchi, Y. Funatsu, Y. Hoshina, Y. Himeno, E. Fukuzaki, Y. Kitahara, S. Arai, D. Ibi, H. Kamei, T. Matsuda, K. Koike, M. Inoue, T. Nagai, K. Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We have recently found that the combination of ovariectomy (OVX) and chronic restraint stress (CS) causes hippocampal pyramidal cell loss and cognitive dysfunction in female rats and that estrogen replacement prevents the OVX/CS-induced morphological and behavioral changes. In this study, to clarify the mechanisms underlying the OVX/CS-mediated memory impairment further, we examined the roles of cholinergic systems in the OVX/CS-induced memory impairment in mice. Female Slc:ICR strain mice were randomly divided into two groups: OVX and sham-operated groups. Two weeks after the operation, the mice of each group were further assigned to CS (6 h/day) or non-stress group. Following the 3-week-stress period, all mice were subjected to contextual fear conditioning, and context- and tone-dependent memory tests were conducted 1 or 24 h after the conditioning. Overburden with 3 weeks of CS from 2 weeks after OVX impaired context- and tone-dependent freezing and the OVX/CS caused significant Nissl-stained neuron-like cell loss in the hippocampal CA3 region, although OVX and CS alone did not cause such behavioral and histological changes. Replacement of 17β-estradiol for 5 weeks after OVX suppressed OVX/CS-induced memory impairment and hippocampal Nissl-positive cell loss. Furthermore, the OVX/CS mice exhibited a significant decrease in choline acetyltransferase in the hippocampus compared with other groups. The cholinesterase inhibitors donepezil and galantamine ameliorated OVX/CS-induced memory impairment. These data suggest that cholinergic dysfunction may be involved in the OVX/CS-induced conditioned fear memory impairment. Overall, our findings suggest that the OVX/CS mouse model is useful to study the mechanisms underlying estrogen loss-induced memory deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-273
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 05-04-2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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