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Event: 341

Key Event Title

A descriptive phrase which defines a discrete biological change that can be measured. More help

Impairment, Learning and memory

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. More help
Impairment, Learning and memory
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Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. More help
Level of Biological Organization
Individual

Key Event Components

The KE, as defined by a set structured ontology terms consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 14 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; https://aopwiki.org/info_pages/2/info_linked_pages/7#List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling).Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signaling).  The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signaling by that receptor).  Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description.  To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons.  If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests.  Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help
Process Object Action
learning decreased
memory decreased

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Binding of antagonist to NMDARs impairs cognition AdverseOutcome Anna Price (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
ionotropic glutamatergic receptors and cognition AdverseOutcome Anna Price (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
NIS inhibition and learning and memory impairment AdverseOutcome Anna Price (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
nAChR activation - colony death 1 KeyEvent Carlie LaLone (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite
nAChR activation - colony death/failure2 KeyEvent Carlie LaLone (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite
nAChR activation - colony loss 5 KeyEvent Carlie LaLone (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite
nAChR activation - colony loss 6 KeyEvent Carlie LaLone (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite
nAChR activation - colony loss 7 KeyEvent Carlie LaLone (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite
nAChR activation - colony loss 8 KeyEvent Carlie LaLone (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite
Binding of antagonist to NMDARs can lead to neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration AdverseOutcome Florianne Tschudi-Monnet (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
H2 block to reduced survival KeyEvent Kellie Fay (send email) Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome
Oxidative stress and Developmental impairment in learning and memory AdverseOutcome Marie-Gabrielle Zurich (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite WPHA/WNT Endorsed
Inhibition of voltage gate during development is leading to cognitive disorders AdverseOutcome Andrea Terron (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KE.In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
human Homo sapiens High NCBI
rat Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster High NCBI
zebrafish Danio rerio High NCBI
gastropods Physa heterostropha High NCBI

Life Stages

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KE. More help
Life stage Evidence
During brain development High
Adult, reproductively mature High

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KE. More help
Term Evidence
Mixed High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. More help

Learning can be defined as the process by which new information is acquired to establish knowledge by systematic study or by trial and error (Ono, 2009). Two types of learning are considered in neurobehavioral studies: a) associative learning and b) non-associative learning. Associative learning is based on making associations between different events. In associative learning, a subject learns the relationship among two different stimuli or between the stimulus and the subject’s behaviour. On the other hand, non-associative learning can be defined as an alteration in the behavioural response that occurs over time in response to a single type of stimulus. Habituation and sensitization are some examples of non-associative learning.

The memory formation requires acquisition, retention and retrieval of information in the brain, which is characterised by the non-conscious recall of information (Ono, 2009). There are three main categories of memory, including sensory memory, short-term or working memory (up to a few hours) and long-term memory (up to several days or even much longer).

Learning and memory depend upon the coordinated action of different brain regions and neurotransmitter systems constituting functionally integrated neural networks (D’Hooge and DeDeyn, 2001). Among the many brain areas engaged in the acquisition of, or retrieval of, a learned event, the hippocampal-based memory systems have received the most study. For example, the hippocampus has been shown to be critical for spatial-temporal memory, visio-spatial memory, verbal and narrative memory, and episodic and autobiographical memory (Burgess et al., 2000; Vorhees and Williams, 2014). However, there is substantial evidence that fundamental learning and memory functions are not mediated by the hippocampus alone but require a network that includes, in addition to the hippocampus, anterior thalamic nuclei, mammillary bodies cortex, cerebellum and basal ganglia (Aggleton and Brown, 1999; Doya, 2000; Mitchell et al., 2002, Toscano and Guilarte, 2005; Gilbert et al., 2006, 2016). Thus, damage to variety of brain structures can potentially lead to impairment of learning and memory. The main learning areas and pathways are similar in rodents and primates, including man (Eichenbaum, 2000; Stanton and Spear, 1990).While the prefrontal cortex and frontostriatal neuronal circuits have been identified as the primary sites of higher-order cognition in vertebrates, invertebrates utilize paired mushroom bodies, shown to contain ~300,000 neurons in honey bees (Menzel, 2012; Puig et al., 2014).

For the purposes of this KE (AO), impaired learning and memory is defined as an organism’s inability to establish new associative or non-associative relationships, or sensory, short-term or long-term memories which can be measured using different behavioural tests described below.

How It Is Measured or Detected

A description of the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements.These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA). Do not provide detailed protocols. More help

In laboratory animals: in rodents, a variety of tests of learning and memory have been used to probe the integrity of hippocampal function. These include tests of spatial learning like the radial arm maze (RAM), the Barnes maze, passive avoidance and Spontaneous alternation and most commonly, the Morris water maze (MWM). Test of novelty such as novel object recognition, and fear based context learning are also sensitive to hippocampal disruption. Finally, trace fear conditioning which incorporates a temporal component upon traditional amygdala-based fear learning engages the hippocampus. A brief description of these tasks follows.

1) RAM, Barnes, MWM are examples of spatial tasks, animals are required to learn the location of a food reward (RAM); an escape hole to enter a preferred dark tunnel from a brightly lit open field area (Barnes maze), or a hidden platform submerged below the surface of the water in a large tank of water (MWM) (Vorhees and Williams, 2014).

2) Novel Object recognition. This is a simpler task that can be used to probe recognition memory. Two objects are presented to animal in an open field on trial 1, and these are explored. On trial 2, one object is replaced with a novel object and time spent interacting with the novel object is taken evidence of memory retention – I have seen one of these objects before, but not this one (Cohen and Stackman, 2015).

3) Contextual Fear conditioning is a hippocampal based learning task in which animals are placed in a novel environment and allowed to explore for several minutes before delivery of an aversive stimulus, typically a mild foot shock. Upon reintroduction to this same environment in the future (typically 24-48 hours after original training), animals will limit their exploration, the context of this chamber being associated with an aversive event. The degree of suppression of activity after training is taken as evidence of retention, i.e., memory (Curzon et al., 2009).

4) Trace fear conditioning. Standard fear conditioning paradigms require animals to make an association between a neutral conditioning stimulus (CS, a light or a tone) and an aversive stimulus (US, a footshock). The unconditioned response (CR) that is elicited upon delivery of the footshock US is freezing behavior. With repetition of CS/US delivery, the previously neutral stimulus comes to elicit the freezing response. This type of learning is dependent on the amygdala, a brain region associated with, but distinct from the hippocampus. Introducing a brief delay between presentation of the neutral CS and the aversive US, a trace period, requires the engagement of the amygdala and the hippocampus (Shors et al., 2001).

In humans:  A variety of standardized learning and memory tests have been developed for human neuropsychological testing, including children (Rohlman et al., 2008). These include episodic autobiographical memory, perceptual motor tests, short and  long term memory tests, working memory tasks, word pair recognition memory; object location recognition memory. Some have been incorporated in general tests of intelligence (IQ) such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Wechsler. Modifications have been made and norms developed for incorporating of tests of learning and memory in children. Examples of some of these tests include:

1) Rey Osterieth Complex Figure test (RCFT) which probes a variety of functions including as visuospatial abilities, memory, attention, planning, and working memory (Shin et al., 2006).

2) Children’s Auditory Verbal Learning Test (CAVLT) is a free recall of presented word lists that yields measures of Immediate Memory Span, Level of Learning, Immediate Recall, Delayed Recall, Recognition Accuracy, and Total Intrusions. (Lezak 1994; Talley, 1986).

3) Continuous Visual Memory Test (CVMT) measures visual learning and memory. It is a free recall of presented pictures/objects rather than words but that yields similar measures of Immediate Memory Span, Level of Learning, Immediate Recall, Delayed Recall, Recognition Accuracy, and Total Intrusions. (Lezak, 1984; 1994).

4) Story Recall from Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS) Logical Memory Test Battery, a standardized neurospychological test designed to measure memory functions (Lezak, 1994; Talley, 1986).

5) Autobiographical memory (AM) is the recollection of specific personal events in a multifaceted higher order cognitive process. It includes episodic memory- remembering of past events specific in time and place, in contrast to semantic autobiographical memory is the recollection of personal facts, traits, and general knowledge. Episodic AM is associated with greater activation of the hippocampus and a later and more gradual developmental trajectory. Absence of episodic memory in early life (infantile amnesia) is thought to reflect immature hippocampal function (Herold et al., 2015; Fivush, 2011).

6) Staged Autobiographical Memory Task. In this version of the AM test, children participate in a staged event involving a tour of the hospital, perform a series of tasks (counting footprints in the hall, identifying objects in wall display, buy lunch, watched a video). It is designed to contain unique event happenings, place, time, visual/sensory/perceptual details. Four to five months later, interviews are conducted using Children’s Autobiographical Interview and scored according to standardized scheme (Willoughby et al., 2014).

In Honey Bees: For over 50 years an assay for evaluating olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex (PER) has been used as a reliable method for evaluating appetitive learning and memory in honey bees (Guirfa and Sandoz, 2012; LaLone et al., 2017). These experiments pair a conditioned stimulus (e.g., an odor) with an unconditioned stimulus (e.g., sucrose) provided immediately afterward, which elicits the proboscis extension (Menzel, 2012). After conditioning, the odor alone will lead to the conditioned PER. This methodology has aided in the elucidation of five types of olfactory memory phases in honey bee, which include early short-term memory, late short-term memory, mid-term memory, early long-term memory, and late long-term memory (Guirfa and Sandoz, 2012). These phases are dependent on the type of conditioned stimulus, the intensity of the unconditioned stimulus, the number of conditioning trials, and the time between trials. Where formation of short-term memory occurs minutes after conditioning and decays within minutes, memory consolidation or stabilization of a memory trace after initial acquisition leads to mid-term memory, which lasts 1 d and is characterized by activity of the cAMP-dependent PKA (Guirfa and Sandoz, 2012). Multiple conditioning trials increase the duration of the memory after learning and coincide with increased Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent PKC activity (Guirfa and Sandoz, 2012). Early long-term memory, where a conditioned response can be evoked days to weeks after conditioning requires translation of existing mRNA, whereas late long-term memory requires de novo gene transcription and can last for weeks (Guirfa andSandoz, 2012)."

Domain of Applicability

A description of the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided).  More help

Basic forms of learning behavior such as habituation have been found in many taxa from worms to humans (Alexander, 1990). More complex cognitive processes such as executive function likely reside only in higher mammalian species such as non-human primates and humans. Recently, larval zebrafish has also been suggested as a model for the study of learning and memory (Roberts et al., 2013).

Regulatory Significance of the Adverse Outcome

An AO is a specialised KE that represents the end (an adverse outcome of regulatory significance) of an AOP. More help

A prime example of impairments in learning and memory as the adverse outcome for regulatory action is developmental lead exposure and IQ function in children (Bellinger, 2012). Most methods are well established in the published literature and many have been engaged to evaluate the effects of developmental thyroid disruption. The US EPA and OECD Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT) Guidelines (OCSPP 870.6300 or OECD TG 426) as well as OECD TG 443 (OECD, 2018) both require testing of learning and memory (USEPA, 1998; OECD, 2007) advising to use the following tests passive avoidance, delayed-matching-to-position for the adult rat and for the infant rat, olfactory conditioning, Morris water maze, Biel or Cincinnati maze, radial arm maze, T-maze, and acquisition and retention of schedule-controlled behaviour.  These DNT Guidelines have been deemed valid to identify developmental neurotoxicity and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes (Makris et al., 2009).

Also, in the frame of the OECD GD 43 (2008) on reproductive toxicity, learning and memory testing may have potential to be applied in the context of developmental neurotoxicity studies. However, many of the learning and memory tasks used in guideline studies may not readily detect subtle impairments in cognitive function associated with modest degrees of developmental thyroid disruption (Gilbert et al., 2012).

References

List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. More help

Aggleton JP, Brown MW. (1999) Episodic memory, amnesia, and the hippocampal-anterior thalamic axis. Behav Brain Sci. 22: 425-489.

Alexander RD (1990) Epigenetic rules and Darwinian algorithms: The adaptive study of learning and development. Ethology and Sociobiology 11:241-303.

Bellinger DC (2012) A strategy for comparing the contributions of environmental chemicals and other risk factors to neurodevelopment of children. Environ Health Perspect 120:501-507.

Burgess N (2002) The hippocampus, space, and viewpoints in episodic memory. Q J Exp Psychol A 55:1057-1080. Cohen, SJ and Stackman, RW. (2015). Assessing rodent hippocampal involvement in the novel object recognition task. A review. Behav. Brain Res. 285: 105-1176.

Cohen, SJ and Stackman, RW. (2015). Assessing rodent hippocampal involvement in the novel object recognition task. A review. Behav. Brain Res. 285: 105-1176.

Curzon P, Rustay NR, Browman KE. Cued and Contextual Fear Conditioning for Rodents. In: Buccafusco JJ, editor. Methods of Behavior Analysis in Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2009.

D'Hooge R, De Deyn PP (2001) Applications of the Morris water maze in the study of learning and memory. Brain Res Brain Res Rev 36:60-90.

Doya K. (2000) Complementary roles of basal ganglia and cerebellum in learning and motor control. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 10: 732-739.

Eichenbaum H (2000) A cortical-hippocampal system for declarative memory. Nat Rev Neurosci 1:41-50.

Fivush R. The development of autobiographical memory. Annu Rev Psychol. 2011;62:559-82.

Gilbert ME, Sanchez-Huerta K, Wood C (2016) Mild Thyroid Hormone Insufficiency During Development Compromises Activity-Dependent Neuroplasticity in the Hippocampus of Adult Male Rats. Endocrinology 157:774-787.

Gilbert ME, Rovet J, Chen Z, Koibuchi N. (2012) Developmental thyroid hormone disruption: prevalence, environmental contaminants and neurodevelopmental consequences. Neurotoxicology 33: 842-52.

Gilbert ME, Sui L (2006) Dose-dependent reductions in spatial learning and synaptic function in the dentate gyrus of adult rats following developmental thyroid hormone insufficiency. Brain Res 1069:10-22.

Guirfa, M., Sandoz, J.C., 2012. Invertebrate learning and memory: fifty years of olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension response in honeybees. Learn. Mem. 19 (2), 54–66.

Herold, C, Lässer, MM, Schmid, LA, Seidl, U, Kong, L, Fellhauer, I, Thomann,PA, Essig, M and Schröder, J. (2015). Neuropsychology, Autobiographical Memory, and Hippocampal Volume in “Younger” and “Older” Patients with Chronic Schizophrenia. Front. Psychiatry, 6: 53.

LaLone, C.A., Villeneuve, D.L., Wu-Smart, J., Milsk, R.Y., Sappington, K., Garber, K.V., Housenger, J. and Ankley, G.T., 2017. Weight of evidence evaluation of a network of adverse outcome pathways linking activation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in honey bees to colony death. STOTEN. 584-585, 751-775.

Lezak MD (1984) Neuropsychological assessment in behavioral toxicology--developing techniques and interpretative issues. Scand J Work Environ Health 10 Suppl 1:25-29.

Lezak MD (1994) Domains of behavior from a neuropsychological perspective: the whole story. Nebr Symp Motiv 41:23-55.

Makris SL, Raffaele K, Allen S, Bowers WJ, Hass U, Alleva E, Calamandrei G, Sheets L, Amcoff P, Delrue N, Crofton KM.(2009) A retrospective performance assessment of the developmental neurotoxicity study in support of OECD test guideline 426. Environ Health Perspect.  Jan;117(1):17-25.

Menzel, R., 2012. The honeybee as a model for understanding the basis of cognition. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 13 (11), 758–768.

Mitchell AS, Dalrymple-Alford JC, Christie MA. (2002) Spatial working memory and the brainstem cholinergic innervation to the anterior thalamus. J Neurosci. 22: 1922-1928.

OECD. 2007. OECD guidelines for the testing of chemicals/ section 4: Health effects. Test no. 426: Developmental neurotoxicity study. www.Oecd.Org/dataoecd/20/52/37622194.Pdf [accessed may 21, 2012].

OECD (2008) Nr 43 GUIDANCE DOCUMENT ON MAMMALIAN REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY TESTING AND ASSESSMENT. ENV/JM/MONO(2008)16

Ono T. (2009) Learning and Memory. Encyclopedia of neuroscience. M D. Binder, N. Hirokawa and U. Windhorst (Eds). Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg. pp 2129-2137.

Puig, M.V., Antzoulatos, E.G., Miller, E.K., 2014. Prefrontal dopamine in associative learning and memory. Neuroscience 282, 217–229.

Roberts AC, Bill BR, Glanzman DL. (2013) Learning and memory in zebrafish larvae. Front Neural Circuits 7: 126.

Rohlman DS, Lucchini R, Anger WK, Bellinger DC, van Thriel C. (2008) Neurobehavioral testing in human risk assessment. Neurotoxicology. 29: 556-567.

Shin, MS, Park, SY, Park, SR, Oeol, SH and Kwon, JS. (2006). Clinical and empirical applications of the Rey-Osterieth complex figure test. Nature Protocols, 1: 892-899.

Shors TJ, Miesegaes G, Beylin A, Zhao M, Rydel T, Gould E (2001) Neurogenesis in the adult is involved in the formation of trace memories. Nature 410:372-376.

Stanton ME, Spear LP (1990) Workshop on the qualitative and quantitative comparability of human and animal developmental neurotoxicity, Work Group I report: comparability of measures of developmental neurotoxicity in humans and laboratory animals. Neurotoxicol Teratol 12:261-267.

Talley, JL. (1986). Memory in learning disabled children: Digit span and eh Rey Auditory verbal learning test. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, Elseiver.

Toscano CD, Guilarte TR. (2005) Lead neurotoxicity: From exposure to molecular effects. Brain Res Rev. 49: 529-554.

U.S.EPA. 1998. Health effects guidelines OPPTS 870.6300 developmental neurotoxicity study. EPA Document 712-C-98-239.Office of Prevention Pesticides and Toxic Substances.

Vorhees CV, Williams MT (2014) Assessing spatial learning and memory in rodents. ILAR J 55:310-332.

Willoughby KA, McAndrews MP, Rovet JF. Accuracy of episodic autobiographical memory in children with early thyroid hormone deficiency using a staged event. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2014 Jul;9:1-11.