Accelerated cognitive aging in diabetic rats is prevented by lowering corticosterone levels

Alexis M. Stranahan, Kim Lee, Paul J. Pistell, Christopher M. Nelson, Nathaniel Readal, Marshall G. Miller, Edward L. Spangler, Donald K. Ingram, Mark P. Mattson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Diabetes and normal aging are both characterized by increases in levels of glucocorticoids. Because long-term exposure to elevated glucocorticoids can be detrimental to hippocampal function, we evaluated the performance of young diabetic rats in the 14-unit T-maze, a task that is sensitive to hippocampal deficits. To assess the contribution of diabetes-induced elevations in corticosterone levels, we examined maze learning in diabetic rats that had levels of corticosterone 'clamped' through adrenalectomy and low-dose corticosterone replacement. For comparison, we also tested a separate group of young and aged rats in the maze. Adrenally intact diabetic rats learned poorly in the 14-unit T-maze. Preventing the increases in corticosterone levels that accompanies the onset of experimental diabetes also prevented deficits in complex maze learning. The pattern of errors made by adrenally intact diabetic rats was similar to the pattern of errors made by aged rats, suggesting that the cognitive profiles of diabetic and aged rats share common features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-483
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Hippocampus
  • Stone maze
  • Streptozocin
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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