Document Type




Rights Management

Rhode Island College


Hypoxia-ischemia (HI) is low oxygenation to the brain paired with low blood supply that can disrupt normal patterns of brain development. HI injury is characterized by many long-term cognitive and behavioral deficits including working memory. Neuronal plasticity due to early sensory or learning experience has been suggested to facilitate recovery of function after neonatal brain injury. Plasticity is the ability for the nervous system, more specifically neurons, and their synapses to modify their function and morphology due to experiences, which in turn correlate with changes in behavior. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia on the morphology of layer five pyramidal neurons within the prefrontal cortex (Cg3) of rats with or without early life working memory experience (postnatal day 36-61). We hypothesized that both HI and sham subjects exposed to 20 days of working memory training, using an 8-arm radial water maze, early in life would show distinct morphological changes in Cg3 pyramidal neurons. Findings suggest that early life working memory training regulates shifts in neuronal morphology following neonatal brain injury.