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Spatial memory impairment in Morris water maze after electroconvulsive seizures

  • Maria Svensson (a1), Thord Hallin (a1), Jonas Broms (a1), Joakim Ekstrand (a1) and Anders Tingström (a1)...



Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most efficient treatments for severe major depression, but some patients suffer from retrograde memory loss after treatment. Electroconvulsive seizures (ECS), an animal model of ECT, have repeatedly been shown to increase hippocampal neurogenesis, and multiple ECS treatments cause retrograde amnesia in hippocampus-dependent memory tasks. Since recent studies propose that addition of newborn hippocampal neurons might degrade existing memories, we investigated whether the memory impairment after multiple ECS treatments is a cumulative effect of repeated treatments, or if it is the result of a delayed effect after a single ECS.


We used the hippocampus-dependent memory task Morris water maze (MWM) to evaluate spatial memory. Rats were exposed to an 8-day training paradigm before receiving either a single ECS or sham treatment and tested in the MWM 24 h, 72 h, or 7 days after this treatment, or multiple (four) ECS or sham treatments and tested 7 days after the first treatment.


A single ECS treatment was not sufficient to cause retrograde amnesia whereas multiple ECS treatments strongly disrupted spatial memory in the MWM.


The retrograde amnesia after multiple ECS is a cumulative effect of repeated treatments rather than a delayed effect after a single ECS.


Corresponding author

*Prof. Anders Tingström, Psychiatric Neuromodulation Unit (PNU), Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund, Lund University, BMC D11, Klinikgatan 30, 222 42, Lund, Sweden. Tel: +46 46 222 06 11; Fax: +46 46 222 84 39; E-mail:


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Spatial memory impairment in Morris water maze after electroconvulsive seizures

  • Maria Svensson (a1), Thord Hallin (a1), Jonas Broms (a1), Joakim Ekstrand (a1) and Anders Tingström (a1)...


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