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Effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity on spatial learning and spatial memory in healthy young adults

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Abstract
Background: Acute stress leads to a rapid release of noradrenaline and glucocorticoids, which in turn influence cognitive functions such as spatial learning and memory. However, few studies have investigated noradrenergic and glucocorticoid effects on spatial learning and memory in humans. Therefore, we examined the separate and combined effects of noradrenergic and glucocorticoid stimulation on spatial learning and memory. Methods: One hundred and four healthy men (mean age = 24.1 years +/- SD 3.5) underwent the virtual Morris Water Maze (vMWM) task to test spatial learning and spatial memory retrieval after receiving either 10 mg hydrocortisone or 10 mg yohimbine (an alpha 2-adrenergic receptor antagonist that increases noradrenergic activity), 10 mg hydrocortisone and 10 mg yohimbine combined, or placebo. The vMWM task took place 90 min after yohimbine was administered and 75 min after hydrocortisone was administered. Placebo was given at the same times. Salivary cortisol and alpha amylase levels were measured to check pharmacological stimulation. Results: Hydrocortisone and yohimbine increased salivary cortisol and alpha amylase levels. Participants' task performance improved over time, suggesting successful spatial learning. However, separate and combined noradrenergic and glucocorticoid stimulation had no effect on spatial learning and spatial memory retrieval compared with placebo. Conclusions: In healthy young men, hydrocortisone and/or yohimbine did not alter spatial learning or spatial memory retrieval. Importantly, pharmacological stimulation took place prior to learning. Further studies should examine the effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic stimulation during encoding, consolidation, and retrieval.
Keywords
MORRIS WATER MAZE, SALIVARY ALPHA-AMYLASE, IMPAIRS WORKING-MEMORY, LONG-TERM-MEMORY, DECLARATIVE MEMORY, SEX-DIFFERENCES, ACUTE STRESS, PREDATOR STRESS, RETRIEVAL, CORTISOL, Spatial learning, Spatial memory, Stress, Glucocorticoid receptor, Noradrenergic system, Virtual Morris Water maze

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MLA
Chae, Woo Ri, et al. “Effects of Glucocorticoid and Noradrenergic Activity on Spatial Learning and Spatial Memory in Healthy Young Adults.” BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, vol. 373, Elsevier, 2019, doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112072.
APA
Chae, W. R., Metz, S., Weise, J., Nowacki, J., Piber, D., Müller, S., … Otte, C. (2019). Effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity on spatial learning and spatial memory in healthy young adults. BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, 373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112072
Chicago author-date
Chae, Woo Ri, Sophie Metz, Jeanette Weise, Jan Nowacki, Dominique Piber, Sven Müller, Katja Wingenfeld, and Christian Otte. 2019. “Effects of Glucocorticoid and Noradrenergic Activity on Spatial Learning and Spatial Memory in Healthy Young Adults.” BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH 373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112072.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Chae, Woo Ri, Sophie Metz, Jeanette Weise, Jan Nowacki, Dominique Piber, Sven Müller, Katja Wingenfeld, and Christian Otte. 2019. “Effects of Glucocorticoid and Noradrenergic Activity on Spatial Learning and Spatial Memory in Healthy Young Adults.” BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH 373. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112072.
Vancouver
1.
Chae WR, Metz S, Weise J, Nowacki J, Piber D, Müller S, et al. Effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity on spatial learning and spatial memory in healthy young adults. BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH. 2019;373.
IEEE
[1]
W. R. Chae et al., “Effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity on spatial learning and spatial memory in healthy young adults,” BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, vol. 373, 2019.
@article{8668227,
  abstract     = {Background: Acute stress leads to a rapid release of noradrenaline and glucocorticoids, which in turn influence cognitive functions such as spatial learning and memory. However, few studies have investigated noradrenergic and glucocorticoid effects on spatial learning and memory in humans. Therefore, we examined the separate and combined effects of noradrenergic and glucocorticoid stimulation on spatial learning and memory. Methods: One hundred and four healthy men (mean age = 24.1 years +/- SD 3.5) underwent the virtual Morris Water Maze (vMWM) task to test spatial learning and spatial memory retrieval after receiving either 10 mg hydrocortisone or 10 mg yohimbine (an alpha 2-adrenergic receptor antagonist that increases noradrenergic activity), 10 mg hydrocortisone and 10 mg yohimbine combined, or placebo. The vMWM task took place 90 min after yohimbine was administered and 75 min after hydrocortisone was administered. Placebo was given at the same times. Salivary cortisol and alpha amylase levels were measured to check pharmacological stimulation. Results: Hydrocortisone and yohimbine increased salivary cortisol and alpha amylase levels. Participants' task performance improved over time, suggesting successful spatial learning. However, separate and combined noradrenergic and glucocorticoid stimulation had no effect on spatial learning and spatial memory retrieval compared with placebo. Conclusions: In healthy young men, hydrocortisone and/or yohimbine did not alter spatial learning or spatial memory retrieval. Importantly, pharmacological stimulation took place prior to learning. Further studies should examine the effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic stimulation during encoding, consolidation, and retrieval.},
  articleno    = {112072},
  author       = {Chae, Woo Ri and Metz, Sophie and Weise, Jeanette and Nowacki, Jan and Piber, Dominique and Müller, Sven and Wingenfeld, Katja and Otte, Christian},
  issn         = {0166-4328},
  journal      = {BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH},
  keywords     = {MORRIS WATER MAZE,SALIVARY ALPHA-AMYLASE,IMPAIRS WORKING-MEMORY,LONG-TERM-MEMORY,DECLARATIVE MEMORY,SEX-DIFFERENCES,ACUTE STRESS,PREDATOR STRESS,RETRIEVAL,CORTISOL,Spatial learning,Spatial memory,Stress,Glucocorticoid receptor,Noradrenergic system,Virtual Morris Water maze},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {8},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  title        = {Effects of glucocorticoid and noradrenergic activity on spatial learning and spatial memory in healthy young adults},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112072},
  volume       = {373},
  year         = {2019},
}

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