The space radiation environment consists of multiple species of charged particles, including 28Si, 48Ti and protons that may impact cognition, but their damaging effects have been poorly defined. In mouse studies, C57Bl6/J homozygous wild-type mice and genetic mutant mice on a C57Bl6/J background have typically been used for assessing effects of space radiation on cognition. In contrast, little is known about the radiation response of mice on a heterozygous background. Therefore, in the current study we tested the effects of 28Si, 48Ti and proton radiation on hippocampus-dependent contextual fear memory and hippocampus-independent cued fear memory in C57Bl6/J × DBA2/J F1 (B6D2F1) mice three months after irradiation. Contextual fear memory was impaired at a 1.6 Gy dose of 28Si radiation, but not cued fear memory. 48Ti or proton irradiation did not affect either type of memory. Based on earlier space radiation cognitive data in C57Bl6/J mice, these data highlight the importance of including different genetic backgrounds in studies aimed at assessing cognitive changes after exposure to space radiation.
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Vol. 183 • No. 6