Activation of endocannabinoid system in the rat basolateral amygdala improved scopolamine-induced memory consolidation impairment

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The current study was designed to examine the involvement of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in scopolamine-induced memory impairment in adult male Wistar rats. The animals were bilaterally implanted with the cannulas in the BLA and submitted to a step-through type passive avoidance task to measure the memory formation. The results showed that intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of different doses of scopolamine (0.5–1.5 mg/kg) immediately after the training phase (post-training) impaired memory consolidation. Bilateral microinjection of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonist, arachydonilcyclopropylamide (ACPA; 1–4 ng/rat), into the BLA significantly improved scopolamine-induced memory consolidation impairment. On the other hand, co-administration of AM251, a cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist (0.25–1 ng/rat, intra-BLA), with an ineffective dose of scopolamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.), significantly impaired memory consolidation and mimicked the response of a higher dose of scopolamine. It is important to note that post-training intra-BLA microinjections of the same doses of ACPA or AM251 alone had no effect on memory consolidation. Moreover, the blockade of the BLA CB1 receptors by 0.3 ng/rat of AM251 prevented ACPA-induced improvement of the scopolamine response. In view of the known actions of the drugs used, the present data pointed to the involvement of the BLA CB1 receptors in scopolamine-induced memory consolidation impairment. Furthermore, it seems that a functional interaction between the BLA endocannabinoid and cholinergic muscarinic systems may be critical for memory formation.

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