Differential effects of MDMA and cocaine on inhibitory avoidance and object recognition tests in rodents

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IntroductionDrug addiction continues being a major public problem faced by modern societies with different social, health and legal consequences for the consumers. Consumption of psychostimulants, like cocaine or MDMA (known as ecstasy) are highly prevalent and cognitive and memory impairments have been related with the abuse of these drugs.AimThe aim of this work was to review the most important data of the literature in the last 10years about the effects of cocaine and MDMA on inhibitory avoidance and object recognition tests in rodents.Development: The object recognition and the inhibitory avoidance tests are popular procedures used to assess different types of memory. We compare the effects of cocaine and MDMA administration in these tests, taking in consideration different factors such as the period of life development of the animals (prenatal, adolescence and adult age), the presence of polydrug consumption or the role of environmental variables. Brain structures involved in the effects of cocaine and MDMA on memory are also described.ConclusionsCocaine and MDMA induced similar impairing effects on the object recognition test during critical periods of lifetime or after abstinence of prolonged consumption in adulthood. Deficits of inhibitory avoidance memory are observed only in adult rodents exposed to MDMA. Psychostimulant abuse is a potential factor to induce memory impairments and could facilitate the development of future neurodegenerative disorders.HIGHLIGHTSCocaine does not alter passive avoidance task.Cocaine impairs recognition memory in critical phases of development or during abstinence in adulthood.Acute and chronic MDMA during adulthood induce an impairment in the passive avoidance test.MDMA exposure through lifetime impairs performance in the object recognition test.Cocaine and MDMA treatment can enhance the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.

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