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Chemotherapy. Neurobiology of cognitive impairment in rats

19 March 2010

Promotie: mw. R. Seigers, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Proefschrift: Chemotherapy. Neurobiology of cognitive impairment in rats

Promotor(s): prof.dr. J.M. Koolhaas, prof.dr. F.S.A.M. van Dam

Faculteit: Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen

Contact: Riejanne Seigers, tel. 050-363 2345, e-mail: r.seigers rug.nl

Chemotherapy. Neurobiology of cognitive impairment in rats

A subgroup of patients treated with chemotherapy for cancer experience up to years after treatment problems with memory, processing speed, and more complex aspects of attention. More and more research is being performed to elucidate the mechanisms of this cognitive impairment. The research of Riejanne Seigers describes an animal study in which a frequently used cytostatic agent in cancer treatment, methotrexate (MTX), was explored for its effect on cognition and neurobiological processes.

Rats treated with a high dosage of MTX showed impaired learning behavior both in the acquisition of a new memory as well as in the ability to consolidate a memory. Analysis of the brain showed that, amongst other, MTX decreased the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, a brain area important for learning and memory. MTX also lastingly decreased the density of blood vessels and the absorption of glucose in this brain area. These changes may contribute to a decreased functionality of this brain region.

The results of Seigers show that cytostatic treatment also induces cognitive impairment in rats and that a number of neurobiological processes involved in learning and memory are affected which may explain the comparable problems of patients. Considering the increasing value of cytostatic agents for the treatment of cancer patients, further research on the negative side-effects of these agents on the cognitive functioning of patients is essential.

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.14 a.m.
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