Investigation of C-type natriuretic peptide in the intact rat brain under formal and informal learning conditions
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
C-type Natriuretic Peptide (CNP), a relatively new member of the natriuretic peptide family, is found throughout the central nervous system. Circumstantial evidence associates CNP with learning and memory, as its expression is highest in brain regions known to be involved in memory and associated with hippocampal physiology. Here, the first study housed rats in an enriched environment, regarded as providing an 'informal' learning experience, for either 14 or 28 days of housing in enrichment in six regions of interest, which was attributed to changes in the degradation of CNP. The second study examined a group of rats trained on object -recognition task – the bow-tie maze. A difference was found in CNP production in the limbic medial prefrontal cortex over repeated exposures to novel objects relative to controls that received 'yoked learning' an exposure only to the test room. CNP concentrations also tended to be lower in rats with better levels of discrimination between familiar objects. Together, these studies provide some initial evidence that CNP influences learning –induced plasticity in the intact brain.