Aims: Previous animal studies have examined the potential for cytostatic drugs to induce learning and memory deficits in laboratory animals but, to date, there is no pre-clinical evidence that taxanes have the potential to cause cognitive impairment. Therefore our aim was to explore the short- and long-term cognitive effects of different dosing schedules of the taxane docetaxel (DTX) on laboratory rodents. Main methods: Healthy male hooded Wistar rats were treated with DTX (6 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg) or physiological saline (control), once a week for 3 weeks (Experiment 1) or once only (10 mg/kg; Experiment 2). Cognitive function was assessed using the novel object recognition (NOR) task and spatial water maze (WM) task 1 to 3 weeks after treatment and again 4 months after treatment. Key findings: Shortly after DTX treatment, rats perform poorly on NOR regardless of treatment regimen. Treatment with a single injection of 10 mg/kg DTX does not appear to induce sustained deficits in object recognition or peripheral neuropathy. Significance: Overall these findings show that treatment with the taxane DTX in the absence of cancer and other anti-cancer treatments causes cognitive impairment in healthy rodents.
- object recognition
- water maze