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Influence of Long-Term Zinc Administration on Spatial Learning and Exploratory Activity in Rats

Piechal, Agnieszka, Blecharz-Klin, Kamilla, Pyrzanowska, Justyna, Widy-Tyszkiewicz, Ewa
Biological trace element research 2016 v.172 no.2 pp. 408-418
correlation, cortex, crossing over, dietary mineral supplements, drinking water, enzymes, hippocampus, memory, rats, transcription factors, zinc, zinc sulfate
Animal brain contains a significant amount of zinc, which is a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes. Moreover, it provides the basis for functioning of more than 2000 transcription factors, and it is necessary for memory formation and learning processes in the brain. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of zinc supplementation on behavior in 3-month-old rats. For this purpose, the Morris water maze paradigm, hole-board, and T-maze were used. Wistar rats received a solution of ZnSO₄ in drinking water at the doses of 16 mg/kg (Zn16 group) and 32 mg/kg (Zn32 group). In rats pretreated with the lower dose of zinc, the improvement of the mean escape latency was observed in comparison to the control group and Zn32 group. During memory task, both ZnSO₄-supplemented groups showed an increase in crossings over the previous platform position. Furthermore, the exploratory activity in Zn16 group was improved in comparison to Zn32 and control group. In the brains of zinc-supplemented rats, we observed the higher content of zinc, both in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. Hippocampal zinc level correlated positively with the mean annulus crossings of the Zn16 group during the probe trial. These findings show that the long-term administration of ZnS0₄ can improve learning, spatial memory, and exploratory activity in rats. Graphical Abstract Improvement of spatial learning, memory, and exploratory behavior