Complex assessment of distinct cognitive impairments following ouabain injection into the rat dorsoloateral striatum

Elzbieta Gornicka-Pawlak, Miroslaw Janowski, Anna Jablonska, Joanna Sypecka, Krystyna Domanska-Janik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A stroke in humans may induce focal injury to the brain tissue resulting in various disabilities. Although motor deficits are the most discernible, cognitive impairments seem to be crucial for patients mental well-being. The current lack of effective treatments encourages scientists and clinicians to develop novel approaches. Before applying them in clinic, testing for safety and effectiveness in non-human models is necessary. Such animal model should include significant cognitive impairments resulting from brain lesion. We used ouabain stereotactic injection into the right dorsolateral striatum of male Wistar rats, and enriched environment housing. To confirm the brain injury before cognitive testing, rats were given a beam-walking task to evaluate the level of sensorimotor deficits. To determine the cognitive impairment after focal brain damage, rats underwent a set of selected tasks over an observation period of 30 days.Brain injury induced by ouabain significantly impaired the acquisition of the T-maze habit learning task, where 'win-stay' strategy rules were applied. The injured rats also showed significant deficits in the performance of the T-maze switching task, which involved shifting from multiple clues previously relevant to the only one important clue. Focal brain injury also significantly changed 'what - where' memory, tested in the object exploration task, in which a novel object consecutively appeared in the same place while the location of a familiar item was continuously changed. In conclusion, we developed an animal model of distinct cognitive impairments after focal brain injury that provides a convenient method to test the effectiveness of restorative therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • 'What - where' memory
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Focal brain injury
  • Habit learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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