Conditioning Minimizes Cognitive Damage During Early-Stage Brain Development

Nadiya Sharif, Zhongjie Shi, Kehuan Luo, Sidhartha Tan, Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine, Children's Hospital of Michigan, 3901 Beaubien Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48201.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), in which the thalamus of the fetal brain is targeted resulting in cell death, results in Hypoxic-Ischemic related intellectual disorders. In this study, a rabbit model was used to reflect acute placental insufficiency (i.e., H-I) in humans, with the objective of determining the possibility of using conditioning to minimize cognitive damage in early-stage brain development. H-I in fetuses was induced via uterine ischemia. Postpartum, fetuses were conditioned to recognize a human face via consistent exposure to a human feeder for 9 days, after which cognitive tests took place. In test 1, the goal being to determine if the kits were able to recognize the original feeder as they were presented during the conditioning process, the H-I (p = 0.0142) and naïve (p = 0.0001) conditioned kits differentiated between positive stimuli from the negative stimuli but the unconditioned kits displayed no preference for either stimulus (p > 0.05). In test 2, in which the kits were tested for whether the lab coat was the discriminative stimulus they recognized, the H-I (P= 0.0001) and Naïve (P= 0.0215) conditioned kits continued to identify the positive stimuli, despite changing contexts. Test 3, which aims to determine if the kits are using olfactory or visual pathways, demonstrated that the naïve (P = 0.0037) and H-I (P= 0.035) conditioned kits may have relied on their olfactory system to identify the original feeder rather than their visual perception. However, both olfactory and visual pathways in the brain cross the thalamus, suggesting that an improvement in cognitive recognition is identifiable. Furthermore, the lack of statistical significance, in tests 1-3, between the conditioned Naive and H-I kits, alludes that the cognitive damage due to H-I was mild or the time between the surgery and the cognitive testing allowed for sufficient brain recovery. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Nadiya Sharif

Institution: Wayne State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 3108