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Relationship between the hippocampal expression of selected cytochrome P450 isoforms and the animal performance in the hippocampus-dependent learning task

Gjota-Ergin, Sena
Gokcek-Sarac, Cigdem
Adalı, Orhan
Jakubowska-Dogru, Ewa
Despite very extensive studies on the molecular mechanisms of memory formation, relatively little is known about the molecular correlates of individual variation in the learning skills within a random population of young normal subjects. The role of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in the brain also remains poorly understood. On the other hand, these enzymes are known to be related to the metabolism of substances important for neural functions including steroids, fatty acids, and retinoic acid. In the present study, we examined the potential correlation between the animals' performance in a place learning task and the levels of selected CYP isoforms (CYP2E1, CYP2D1 and CYP7A1) in the rat hippocampus. According to their performance, rats were classified as "good" learners (percent error/number of trials to criterion <= group mean - 3SEM) or "poor" learners (percent error/number of trials to criterion >= group mean + 3SEM). The CYP enzyme levels were determined by Western Blot at the early, intermediary and advanced stages of the task acquisition (day 4, day 8 and after reaching a performance criterion of 83% correct responses). In this study, as expected, CYP2E1 and CYP2D1 isoforms have been found in the rat hippocampus. However, a putative CYP7A1 isoform was also visualized. Hippocampal expression of these enzymes was shown to be dependent on the stage of learning and animals' cognitive status. In "good" learners compared to "poor" learners, significantly higher levels of CYP2E1 were found at the early stage of training, significantly higher levels of CYP2D1 were found at the intermediate stage of training, and significantly higher levels of CYP7A1-like protein were found after reaching the acquisition criterion. These findings suggest that the differential expression of some CYP isoforms in the hippocampus may have impact on individual learning skills and that different CYP isoforms may play different roles during the learning process.