The effects of iron deficiency and electric shock on learning in rats

Shlomo Yehuda, Rena Mei-Tal, Moussa Youdim

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6 Scopus citations


It is hypothesized that electric shock can compensate for the learning deficit caused by iron deficiency in the experimental rat population, and that this effect will be sustained over a 3-week rehabilitation" period. Forty-seven female Sprague-Dawley rats served as the experimental subjects. The learning capacity of the rats was assessed using a water Y-maze. The dependent variables were assessed twice, once after half had been made iron deficient, and again after the iron deficiency had been corrected. A 2 × 2 × 2 analysis of variance with repeated measures was employed, along with post-hoc tests, to assess the effects of the experimental manipulations on the rats' performance. The experimental results replicated previous findings regarding the damaging effects of iron deficiency on learning capacity in rats and confirmed that shock improves the performance of rats in thw water Y-maze. Fürthermore, it was found that shock and iron deficiency interact, such that the performance of iron-deficient rats subjected to electric shock is superior to that of rats not made iron deficient. This trend persists even after the hematological effects of iron deficiency are corrected, although to a less dramatic degree. A possible explanation for these findings is advanced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1991


  • Electric shock
  • Iron Deficiency
  • Learning


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