As mentioned above, we have chosen male Long-Evans rats for our cognitive aging research. This strain has good visual acuity even at advanced ages and is out-bred, such that genetic variability is consistently introduced into the population. Thus their general physical health and eyesight tend to be excellent well into old age, and we find very few pituitary tumors (<5%) in these animals upon sacrifice. Our animals are obtained as retired breeders from Charles River Laboratories, Inc., Cambridge, MA at approximately 10-12 months of age and are individually housed for another 12 months before behavioral testing. During this time, water and food intake assessments and frequent screenings for pathogens are conducted to constantly monitor their health. Extreme measures are taken to maintain a healthy and pathogen-free colony for our Long-Evans rat model of cognitive aging. Individual differences in cognitive decline described in detail below are routinely observed in this model in rats 24-25 months of age.
Aging and the Medial Temporal System
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