Galanin-overexpressing transgenic mice (GAL-tg) generated on a dopamine β-hydroxylase promoter were previously shown to express high levels of galanin mRNA in the locus coeruleus, and to perform poorly on challenging cognitive tasks. The present study employed radioimmunoassay to quantitate the level of galanin peptide overexpression in two brain regions relevant to learning and memory, the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Approximately 4-fold higher levels of galanin were detected in the hippocampus of GAL-tg as compared to WT. Approximately 10-fold higher levels of galanin were detected in the frontal cortex of GAL-tg as compared to WT. A second cohort of GAL-tg and WT again showed high levels of galanin overexpression in GAL-tg as compared to WT in both brain regions. Correlation analyses were conducted between galanin peptide concentrations and behavioral scores on four learning and memory tasks: the Morris water maze, social transmission of food preference, standard delay fear conditioning, and trace fear conditioning. While some significant correlations were detected, neither hippocampal nor cortical galanin levels in the two cohorts of GAL-tg consistently correlated with performance across these diverse cognitive tasks. Several interpretations of these findings are discussed, including the possibility that a threshold level of galanin overexpression is sufficient to impair performance on learning and memory tasks in mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience