Social Recognition Task in the Rat

Martine Lemaire1

1 Porsolt & Partners Pharmacology, Boulogne‐Billancourt
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Pharmacology
Unit Number:  Unit 5.30
DOI:  10.1002/0471141755.ph0530s20
Online Posting Date:  May, 2003
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Abstract

Among the numerous tasks designed for assessing distinct memory processes, the social recognition task in the rat offers the opportunity to evaluate a form of short‐term working memory in the domain of social cognition, and its modification by pharmacological agents or physiopathological states, such as aging. Social cognition in humans is obviously of great importance and its deficits, e.g., during aging and Alzheimer's dementia, often have dramatic consequences for the patient and their environment. Two protocols are described in this unit that permit evaluation of positive and negative drug effects on social recognition memory in adult male rats and beneficial drug effects on age‐related social recognition amnesia in aged male rats.

     
 
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Table of Contents

  • Basic Protocol 1: Evaluation of Positive and Negative Pharmacological Effects on Social Recognition in Adult Male Rats
  • Alternate Protocol 1: Evaluation of Positive Pharmacological Effects on Social Recognition in Aged Rats
  • Reagents and Solutions
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
     
 
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Materials

Basic Protocol 1: Evaluation of Positive and Negative Pharmacological Effects on Social Recognition in Adult Male Rats

  Materials
  • Male adult and juvenile rats: Wistar Han rats, 3‐ to 4‐month‐old (400 to 450 g at the time of arrival) and 3‐week‐old (40 to 50 g at the time of arrival) (e.g., Elevage Janvier)
  • Standard rodent diet (e.g., UAR 113)
  • Test compounds (see recipe)
  • Physiological saline: 0.9% NaCl, sterile
  • 41 × 25 × 15–cm and 25 × 19 × 13–cm transparent Macrolon cages, padded with wood sawdust
  • Metric balance, accurate to 1 g (e.g., Sartorius model 1401.001.2)
  • 2‐ml syringes (e.g., Terumo type BS‐025) and 25‐G × ⅝‐in. (0.5 × 16–mm) needles (e.g., Terumo) for intraperitoneal and subcutaneous injections
  • Luer gastric probes with olive extremity (25 mm × 12/10–mm) for oral administration

Alternate Protocol 1: Evaluation of Positive Pharmacological Effects on Social Recognition in Aged Rats

  • Male aged, adult, and juvenile rats: Wistar Han rats, 18‐ to 24‐month‐old (600 to 700 g at the time of arrival), 3‐ to 4‐month‐old (400 to 450 g at the time of arrival), and 3‐week‐old (40 to 50 g at the time of arrival) (e.g., Elevage Janvier)
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Figures

Videos

Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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   Bluthé, R.M., Schoenen, J., and Dantzer, R. 1990. Androgen‐dependent vasopressinergic neurons are involved in social recognition in rats. Brain Res. 519:150‐157.
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