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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2013, Article ID 518780, 12 pages
Review Article

Cholesterol and Copper Affect Learning and Memory in the Rabbit

1Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
2Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 9302, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA

Received 27 June 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editor: Rosanna Squitti

Copyright © 2013 Bernard G. Schreurs. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A rabbit model of Alzheimer’s disease based on feeding a cholesterol diet for eight weeks shows sixteen hallmarks of the disease including beta amyloid accumulation and learning and memory changes. Although we have shown that feeding 2% cholesterol and adding copper to the drinking water can retard learning, other studies have shown that feeding dietary cholesterol before learning can improve acquisition and feeding cholesterol after learning can degrade long-term memory. We explore the development of this model, the issues surrounding the role of copper, and the particular contributions of the late D. Larry Sparks.