The influence of the uterus in maintaining memory

The uterus is an organ that plays a vital role in the reproduction. During pregnancy, the uterus has an important role in maintaining the survival of the embryo. The material regarding midwifery and gynaecology explains that outside the period of pregnancy, the uterus will be in an inactive state and does not interact with other organs. However, the results of a recent study conducted by Arizona State University stated the opposite.

In the study, which using female mice as the guinea pig, the researchers found that removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) had a negative impact on spatial memory. According to the study published in the Endocrinology journal, the uterus has interactions with the brain that can affect several cognitive processes. In some previous studies, it was also discovered that women who underwent a hysterectomy before menopause but still retained their ovaries, had a higher risk of developing dementia.

In this research, experts grouped female rats into four groups. Female mice in the first group were treated with oophorectomy (the ovary removal process), the second group was treated with hysterectomy, the third group was given both treatments, and the last group was used as a control, and the rats in this group received 'fake surgery'. After six weeks, female mice were trained to remember the complex labyrinth structure. To measure their memory, the elements of the labyrinth were gradually changed.

The researchers found that female mice who underwent hysterectomy experienced a decrease in spatial memory when compared with other groups. The researchers further explained that the decrease was caused by differences in hormones found in the body after undergoing a hysterectomy. Researchers found that the hormones produced in the hysterectomy group differed from other groups. Changes in hormones affect the body's metabolism including brain function.


Text by Anggie Triana
Stock photos from Pixabay


  • Koebele, S. V., Palmer, J. M., Hadder, B., et al (2018). Hysterectomy Uniquely Impacts Spatial Memory in a Rat Model: A Role for the Nonpregnant Uterus in Cognitive Processes. Endocrinology, 160(1): 1-19, DOI:
  • Medical News Today - The uterus plays role in memory, study finds (2018)., December 19, 2018.

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