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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X

Abstract

ROESLER, R. et al. Involvement of hippocampal NMDA receptors in retention of shuttle avoidance conditioning in rats. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1998, vol.31, n.12, pp. 1601-1604. ISSN 1414-431X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X1998001200014.

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the role of hippocampal N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in acquisition and consolidation of memory during shuttle avoidance conditioning in rats. Adult male Wistar rats were surgically implanted with cannulae aimed at the CA1 area of the dorsal hippocampus. After recovery from surgery, animals were trained and tested in a shuttle avoidance apparatus (30 trials, 0.5-mA footshock, 24-h training-test interval). Immediately before or immediately after training, animals received a bilateral intrahippocampal 0.5-µl infusion containing 5.0 µg of the NMDA competitive receptor antagonist aminophosphonopentanoic acid (AP5) or vehicle (phosphate-buffered saline, pH 7.4). Infusion duration was 2 min per side. Pre-training infusion of AP5 impaired retention test performance (mean ± SEM number of conditioned responses (CRs) during retention test session was 16.47 ± 1.78 in the vehicle group and 9.93 ± 1.59 in the AP5 group; P<0.05). Post-training infusion of AP5 did not affect retention (mean ± SEM number of conditioned responses during retention test session was 18.46 ± 1.94 in the vehicle group and 20.42 ± 2.38 in the AP5 group; P>0.10). This impairment could not be attributed to an effect on acquisition, motor activity or footshock sensitivity since AP5 affected neither training session performance measured by the number of CRs nor the number of intertrial crossings during the training session. These data suggest that NMDA receptors in the hippocampus are critical for retention of shuttle avoidance conditioning, in agreement with previous evidence showing a role of NMDA receptors in fear memory.

Keywords : NMDA receptor; hippocampus; memory; conditioning; fear.

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