Young adult (3 months) and aged (22 months) Fischer 344 male rats were prepared with chronic tail artery catheters. Two days after surgery, rats were transferred to a test chamber and exposed to a single footshock (0, 0.25, 0.50, or 1.0 mA for 1 s). Blood samples were obtained from each rat under basal conditions and at timed intervals after exposure to footshock. Basal plasma levels of norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (EPI) were similar for 3- and 22-month-old rats. In contrast, plasma glucose (GLU) levels were significantly lower in aged rats compared to young adults. Increments in plasma levels of EPI were greater in aged rats compared to young adult controls following transfer of rats to the test chamber. In addition, aged rats had potentiated plasma EPI responses to footshock. Finally, aged rats had greater plasma levels of both catecholamines up to 5 min after a single training footshock compared to young adult controls. However, the increased responsiveness of EPI in aged rats was not accompanied by proportionate increases in plasma GLU levels, i.e., the EPI-GLU relationship was uncoupled in aged rats. These findings point to dramatic differences between young adult and aged rats in their plasma EPI responses to inhibitory avoidance training. Age-related increases in EPI secreted from the adrenal medulla, together with decreased blood GLU responses, may contribute in part to age- related deficits in memory modulatory processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology