Ronald E. McNair Scholars Summer Research Institute; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach

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Las Vegas (Nev.)


Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder altering memory loss thought to be due to neuropathological symptoms such as the buildup of beta amyloid plaques (Ab) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). The etiology of Alzheimer’s is still unknown; however, potential risk factors such as diabetes may lead to its development. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes known for persistent insulin resistance leading to a state of hyperglycemia. Insulin resistance has been shown to affect cognitive abilities such as learning, memory and also alters synaptic plasticity. Neural connections between the hippocampus (HC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are known to be very important for learning and memory and are highly plastic, making them an intriguing target that could be altered by hyperglycemia. We hypothesize that hyperglycemic rodents will exhibit spatial memory deficits that may be associated with cognitively linked interactions between the HC and ACC. Minimal doses of streptozotocin (STZ), which is toxic to insulin producing beta cells, were given for 9-10 weeks. Using a spatial working memory task known as delayed alternation we found significant differences between control and experimental rats in working memory accuracy. This task places strong working memory demands on subjects which may be compromised by a hyperglycemic state. We measured EEG recordings from the HC and ACC during task performance and found that hyperglycemic rats had nearly continuous theta rhythm during the 30-minute session. Control rats however, displayed normal transitions between theta and lower frequency delta. Neural connectivity may be altered due to a change in frequency activity between the HC and ACC due to diabetes which is a risk factor in the development of AD impairments. These results show that hyperglycemia leads to changes along the circuit critical for learning and memory.


Hyperglycemia; Alzheimer's Disease; Diabetes; Hippocampus; Anterior cingulate cortex; Theta; Delta; Oscillations



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