Abstract # 89:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2007 11:50 AM-12:05 PM: Session 8 (North Main Hall C/D) Symposium


Age Dependent Effects of Estrogen on Cognitive Function in Monkey Models of Menopause

M. L. Voytko
Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
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     Changes in memory and attention are noted by postmenopausal women. The extent to which estrogen loss contributes to cognitive changes in postmenopausal women is not clear. While macaque monkeys share similarities in reproductive and endocrinologic physiology with women, few studies have been conducted in monkeys to determine the cognitive effects of estrogen. To address this issue, cognitive studies were conducted in a computerized test apparatus in adult (6-10 years) female cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys and in middle-aged (20 year) female rhesus (Macaca mulatta) monkeys who were ovariectomized and treated with 17-beta estradiol or placebo. Visuospatial attention was assessed using a cued reaction time task and spatial memory was assessed using a delayed response task. In young monkeys, attention was altered by the loss of estrogen [F(3,45)=4.67, p<0.01] and this deficit was reversed in monkeys receiving estradiol [n=9; F(3,32)=4.89, p<0.01] but not in those receiving placebo (n=8). Memory was not affected by ovariectomy or treatment with estradiol in young monkeys. In middle-aged monkeys, both attention and memory remained stable in monkeys receiving estradiol (n=3), but both domains worsened with time in monkeys receiving placebo [n=3; F(1,2)=274.08, p=0.004 for attention; F(1,2)=21.12, p=0.04 for memory]. In conjunction, these results indicate that age interacts with estrogen to modulate multiple cognitive domains in surgically menopausal monkeys of advancing age.