N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Antagonist MK-801 and Spatial Memory Representation: Working Memory Is Impaired in an Unfamiliar Environment but Not in a Familiar Environment


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Abstract

Female Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with the noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist MK-801 or saline 30 min before daily testing in spatial working memory (WM) and reference memory (RM) procedures in an 8-arm radial maze. MK-801 impaired RM and WM acquisition but not performance when rats were trained to criterion before drug administration. Neither a 2-hr nor a 4-hr delay between the first and last 2 correct WM choices impaired long-term WM. MK-801 impaired WM performance in trained rats only when rats were tested in a new environment. Thus, 2 mechanisms may be required for relational memory: an NMDA-dependent mechanism for acquiring long-term spatial representations and an NMDA-insensitive mechanism for operating on these stored representations.

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