Posttraining estrogen and memory modulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • The present paper provides a review of recent research carried out in this laboratory investigating the effects of posttraining peripheral and intrahippocampal injection of estradiol on memory in rats, and estradiol-acetylcholine interactions in memory modulation. Ovariectomized rats received an eight-trial training session in a hippocampal-dependent hidden platform water maze task. Immediately following training, rats received a posttraining peripheral or intrahippocampal injection of estradiol-cyclodextrin complex or vehicle. Twenty-four hours later rats were returned to the maze for a retention test session, and latency to escape was used as a measure of memory for the previous day's training. Peripheral posttraining injection of estradiol enhances memory relative to vehicle-treated rats. Injections of estradiol given 2 h posttraining has no effect on retention, indicating a time-dependent effect of estradiol on memory storage processes. A time-dependent memory enhancing effect of posttraining intrahippocampal injections of estradiol has also been observed in both male and ovariectomized female rats. The memory enhancing effect of peripheral posttraining injection of estradiol in ovariectomized rats is blocked by a subeffective dose of the acetylcholine muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine, suggesting that estradiol interacts with cholinergic systems in memory modulation. Concurrent peripheral posttraining injection of a subeffective dose of estradiol and a subeffective dose of the cholinergic agonist oxotremorine produces a synergistic memory enhancing effect. The findings suggest that: (1) estradiol selectively influences memory storage independent of an effect on nonmnemonic processes, (2) the hippocampus is a potential neuroanatomical site of action mediating estrogenic effects on memory, and (3) estradiol interacts with cholinergic systems in memory modulation.

published proceedings

  • Horm Behav

author list (cited authors)

  • Packard, M. G.

citation count

  • 153

complete list of authors

  • Packard, MG

publication date

  • January 1998