Nitric Oxide Donor Molsidomine Attenuates Psychotomimetic Effects of the NMDA Receptor Antagonist MK-801

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There is experimental evidence indicating that the non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 impairs cognition and produces a series of schizophrenia-like symptoms in rodents (hypermotility, stereotypies, and ataxia). The present study was designed to investigate the efficacy of the nitric oxide (NO) donor molsidomine in counteracting these MK-801-induced behavioral effects in the rat. In a first study, post-training administration of molsidomine (at 4 but not 2 mg/kg) successfully antagonized MK-801-induced performance deficits in a recognition memory test. In a subsequent study, molsidomine (2 and 4 mg/kg) was shown to be unable to reverse MK-801-induced hypermotility but attenuated stereotypies (continuous movement whole cage, body sway, and head weaving) produced by MK-801. Moreover, at 4 mg/kg this NO donor counteracted MK-801-induced ataxia. Our findings indicate that molsidomine attenuates behavioral effects related to the hypofunction of the NMDA receptor suggesting that NO might be involved in the psychotomimetic effects of non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists.

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