Role of hippocampal and prefrontal cortical signaling pathways in dextromethorphan effect on morphine-induced memory impairment in rats

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Abstract

Evidence suggests that dextromethorphan (DM), an NMDA receptor antagonist, induces memory impairment. Considering that DM is widely used in cough-treating medications, and the co-abuse of DM with morphine has recently been reported, the aims of the present study was (1) to investigate whether there is a functional interaction between morphine and DM in passive avoidance learning and (2) to assess the possible role of the hippocampal and prefrontal cortical (PFC) signaling pathways in the effects of the drugs on memory formation. Our findings indicated that post-training or pre-test administration of morphine (2 and 6 mg/kg) or DM (10–30 mg/kg) impaired memory consolidation and retrieval which was associated with the attenuation of the levels of phosphorylated Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (p-CAMKII) and cAMP responsive element-binding protein (p-CREB) in the targeted sites. Moreover, the memory impairment induced by post-training administration of morphine was reversed by pre-test administration of the same dose of morphine or DM (30 mg/kg), indicating state-dependent learning (SDL) and a cross-SDL between the drugs. It is important to note that the levels of p-CAMKII/CAMKII and p-CREB/CREB in the hippocampus and the PFC increased in drugs-induced SDL. In addition, DM administration potentiated morphine-induced SDL which was related to the enhanced levels of hippocampal and PFC CAMKII-CREB signaling pathways. It can be concluded that there is a relationship between the hippocampus and the PFC in the effect of DM and/or morphine on memory retrieval. Moreover, a cross SDL can be induced between the co-administration of DM and morphine. Interestingly, CAMKII-CREB signaling pathways also mediate the drugs-induced SDL.

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