Interaction of nicotinic and histamine H(3) systems in the radial-arm maze repeated acquisition task.
Nicotinic systems have been found in a variety of studies to play important roles in cognitive function. Nicotinic involvement in different aspects of cognitive function such as learning vs. memory may differ. We have found in rats that the spatial repeated acquisition task in the radial-arm maze is significantly improved by low doses of the nicotinic receptor antagonist mecamylamine, the atypical nicotinic receptor ligand lobeline, as well as the alpha7 nicotinic receptor agonist ARR-17779. Interestingly, nicotine in the same dose range that improves working memory in the win-shift radial maze task was not effective in improving repeated acquisition performance. Nicotinic systems interact with a variety of other neural systems. Differential involvement of these extended effects with learning vs. memory may help explain differential effects of nicotinic drugs with these cognitive functions. Histamine H(3) receptor antagonists have been shown by some studies to improve cognitive function, but others have not found this effect and some have found impairment. Nicotine stimulates the release of histamine. This effect may counter other cascading effects of nicotine in the performance of learning and memory tasks. A specific test of this hypothesis involves our study of nicotine (0.1-0.4 mg/kg) interactions with the histamine H(3) receptor antagonist thioperamide (2.5-10 mg/kg) on learning memory in the repeated acquisition test in the radial-arm maze. The highest dose of thioperamide tested caused a significant choice accuracy impairment, which was most evident during the later portions of the learning curve. The highest dose of nicotine did not change overall errors but did cause a significant impairment in learning over trials. The choice accuracy impairment induced by thioperamide was significantly attenuated by nicotine (0.4 mg/kg). The learning impairment caused by the highest dose of nicotine was significantly attenuated by thioperamide. Thioperamide also caused a slowing of response, an effect, which was attenuated by nicotine co-administration. The repeated acquisition test can help differentiate acute drug effects on learning. Nicotine and thioperamide effectively reversed each other's choice accuracy impairment even though each by itself impaired accuracy.
Kholdebarin, E; Caldwell, DP; Blackwelder, WP; Kao, M; Christopher, NC; Levin, ED
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