Drugs of abuse trigger a very specific type of memory called state-dependent memory (SDM). Both memory process and drug addiction are underlain by neuroplasticity, which depends on calcium concentration and protein kinase activity.
Within the scope of this study was to evaluate the impact of verapamil, an L-type voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) blocker, and SL-327, a selective MAPK/ERK kinase inhibitor, on morphine and ethanol SDM including the cross effects between these drugs with an additional influence of nicotine. To assess SDM in mice a step-through passive avoidance task was used.
Our results show that amnestic effects of morphine (10.0mg/kg, s.c.) and ethanol (1.0g/kg, i.p.) can be reversed by pre-test administrations of morphine (10.0mg/kg, s.c.), ethanol (1.0g/kg, i.p.) and nicotine (0.1mg/kg, s.c.), indicating morphine and ethanol SDM, as well as morphine-ethanol, morphine-nicotine, ethanol-morphine and ethanol-nicotine cross SDM. Pre-test co-treatment of verapamil (10.0mg/kg, i.p.) with morphine/ethanol/nicotine increased all investigated SDM and cross SDM effects. Pre-test co-treatment of SL-327 (10.0mg/kg, i.p.) diminished morphine- and ethanol-induced SDM along with the cross effects except ethanol-morphine cross SDM. In conclusion, SDM depends on ERK1/2 activation and also verapamil affects this type of memory, although the exact mechanism of its cognitive action has not been investigated in this study.