Acute nicotine interactions with nicotinic and muscarinic antagonists: working and reference memory effects in the 16-arm radial maze.
In the 8-arm radial maze and other tests, acute nicotine administration has been found to improve memory performance significantly, whereas acute administration of the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine has been found to impair memory performance. However, questions remain concerning the behavioral and pharmacological nature of acute nicotine effects on memory. In the current studies, we examined acute nicotine effects on working and reference memory in a 16-arm radial maze. In the first study, nicotine caused a significant improvement in working memory but not in reference memory. The muscarinic antagonist scopolamine caused significant deficits in working memory but not in reference memory. Nicotine did not significantly attenuate the scopolamine-induced deficit. In the second study, with rats trained to near-perfect performance, a low dose of mecamylamine (1.25 mg/kg) caused a significant working memory impairment in the 16-arm maze. This deficit was significantly attenuated by concurrent acute administration of nicotine. These studies show that acute nicotine, like chronic nicotine, preferentially improves working compared with reference memory in the radial-arm maze. Mecamylamine can impair working memory performance in the 16-arm maze at low doses which are less likely to have effects at N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Nicotine can selectively reverse mecamylamine-induced deficits.
Levin, ED; Kaplan, S; Boardman, A
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