Disruption of learned and spontaneous alternation in the rat by trimethyltin: chronic effects.
Trimethyltin (TMT) is a known neurotoxin which produces behavioral anomalies including hyperactivity, aggressiveness, perseveration, and learning deficits. These dysfunctions appear to be related to a severe loss of neurons in the hippocampal formation of the TMT-treated rat. In order to assess the effect of TMT exposure upon spontaneous and learned alternation, male Long-Evans rats were pretested for reinforced spontaneous alternation and then treated with either 7 mg/kg of TMT [( CH3]3SnCl) or the 0.9% NaCl vehicle. After treatment these groups were further subdivided and half of each group was tested in a "T" maze for reinforced spontaneous alternation while the remainder was tested for learned alternation. The TMT-treated rats uniformly ran faster on the second choice of reinforced spontaneous alternation tests than did controls. In addition, the TMT-treated rats made fewer alternations than controls, regardless of whether or not only successful alternations were being reinforced. These results are discussed in light of the known neurobehavioral consequences of TMT exposure.
Johnson, CT; Dunn, AR; Swartzwelder, HS
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