A Multivariate Assessment of Age-Related Cognitive Impairment in Octodon degus.

Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Daniela S RiveraNibaldo C Inestrosa


Aging is a progressive functional decline characterized by a gradual deterioration in physiological function and behavior. The most important age-related change in cognitive function is decline in cognitive performance (i.e., the processing or transformation of information to make decisions that includes speed of processing, working memory, and learning). The purpose of this study is to outline the changes in age-related cognitive performance (i.e., short-term recognition memory and long-term learning and memory) in long-lived Octodon degus. The strong similarity between degus and humans in social, metabolic, biochemical, and cognitive aspects makes it a unique animal model for exploring the mechanisms underlying the behavioral and cognitive deficits related to natural aging. In this study, we examined young adult female degus (12- and 24-months-old) and aged female degus (38-, 56-, and 75-months-old) that were exposed to a battery of cognitive-behavioral tests. Multivariate analyses of data from the Social Interaction test or Novel Object/Local Recognition (to measure short-term recognition memory), and the Barnes maze test (to measure long-term learning and memory) revealed a consistent pattern. Young animals formed a separat...Continue Reading


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