Developing a clinically relevant model of cognitive training after experimental traumatic brain injury.
BACKGROUND: Following traumatic brain injury (TBI), clinical cognitive training paradigms harness implicit and explicit learning and memory systems to improve function; however, these systems are differentially affected by TBI, highlighting the need for an experimental TBI model that can test efficacy of cognitive training approaches.
OBJECTIVES: To develop a clinically relevant experimental cognitive training model using the Morris water maze (MWM) wherein training on implicitly learned task components was provided to improve behavioral performance post-TBI.
METHODS: Eighty-one adult male rats were divided by injury status (controlled cortical impact [CCI]/Sham), non-spatial cognitive training (CogTrained/No-CogTrained), and extra-maze cues (Cued/Non-Cued) during MWM testing. Platform latencies, thigmotaxis, and search strategies were assessed during MWM trials.
RESULTS: Cognitive training was associated with improved platform latencies, reduced thigmotaxis, and more effective search strategy use for Sham and CCI rats. In the Cued and Non-Cued MWM paradigm, there were no differences between CCI/CogTrained and Sham/No-CogTrained groups. During novel testing conditions, CogTrained groups applied implicitly learned knowledge/skills; however, sham-cued CogTrained/rats better incorporated extramaze cues into their search strategy than the CCI-Cued group. Cognitive training had no effects on contusion size or hippocampal cell survival.
CONCLUSIONS: The results provide evidence that CCI-CogTrained rats that learned the nonspatial components of the MWM task applied these skills during multiple conditions of the place-learning task, thereby mitigating cognitive deficits typically associated with this injury model. The results show that a systematic application of clinically relevant constructs associated with cognitive training paradigms can be used with experimental TBI to affect place learning.
Published In/Presented At
Brayer, S. W., Ketcham, S., Zou, H., Hurwitz, M., Henderson, C., Fuletra, J., Kumar, K., Skidmore, E., Thiels, E., & Wagner, A. K. (2015). Developing a clinically relevant model of cognitive training after experimental traumatic brain injury. Neurorehabilitation and neural repair, 29(5), 483–495. https://doi.org/10.1177/1545968314550367
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine