MK-801 impedes the acquisition of a spatial memory task in rats.
Several studies have reported that MK-801 impairs the acquisition of various learning and memory tasks, while others suggest that MK-801 may interfere with performance rather than having a specific effect on memory. To characterize further the effects of MK-801 on learning and memory, MK-801 (0.05 mg/kg, SC) was administered prior to or immediately after learning trials in a trial-independent water maze task. Since MK-801 may affect nonassociative variables that may influence learning and memory, motor activity and general reactivity measures were also determined for 0.0125, 0.025, or 0.05 mg/kg of MK-801 administered SC. Since MK-801 may also be used to treat children with epilepsy, we investigated the possible persistent cognitive effects on neonates. MK-801 (0.02 mg/kg, SC) was administered at postnatal days 9-15 and tested in the same task as above starting at day 36 of age. There were no persistent effects of neonatal treatment. However, in adult rats, MK-801 impaired the acquisition of the water maze task but did not affect performance during a recall task in the same apparatus. At doses affecting learning, there were no effects on motor activity or general reactivity in adult rats. These results are consistent with the conclusion that MK-801 interferes with acquisition of spatial learning in the rat.
McLamb, RL; Williams, LR; Nanry, KP; Wilson, WA; Tilson, HA
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