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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X

Abstract

BARICHELLO, T. et al. Behavioral deficits in sepsis-surviving rats induced by cecal ligation and perforation. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2007, vol.40, n.6, pp. 831-837. ISSN 1414-431X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2007000600013.

Sepsis and its complications are the leading causes of mortality in intensive care units, accounting for 10-50% of deaths. Intensive care unit survivors present long-term cognitive impairment, including alterations in memory, attention, concentration, and/or global loss of cognitive function. In the present study, we investigated behavioral alterations in sepsis-surviving rats. One hundred and ten male Wistar rats (3-4 months, 250-300 g) were submitted to cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), and 44 were submitted to sham operation. Forty-four rats (40%) survived after CLP, and all sham-operated animals survived and were used as control. Twenty animals of each group were used in the object recognition task (10 in short-term memory and 10 in long-term memory), 12 in the plus-maze test and 12 in the forced swimming test. Ten days after surgery, the animals were submitted individually to an object recognition task, plus-maze and forced swimming tests. A significant impairment of short- and long-term recognition memory was observed in the sepsis group (recognition index 0.75 vs 0.55 and 0.74 vs 0.51 for short- and long-term memory, respectively (P < 0.05). In the elevated plus-maze test no difference was observed between groups in any of the parameters assessed. In addition, sepsis survivors presented an increase in immobility time in the forced swimming test (180 vs 233 s, P < 0.05), suggesting the presence of depressive-like symptoms in these animals after recovery from sepsis. The present results demonstrated that rats surviving exposure to CLP, a classical sepsis model, presented recognition memory impairment and depressive-like symptoms but not anxiety-like behavior.

Keywords : Sepsis survivors; Recognition memory; Plus-maze test; Forced swimming test; Cecal ligation and puncture; Cognitive impairment.

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