Effects of withdrawal from repeated phencyclidine administration on behavioural function and brain arginine metabolism in rats

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Phencyclidine (PCP) induces behavioural changes in humans and laboratory animals that resemble positive and negative symptoms, and cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. It has been shown repeated treatment of PCP leading to persistent symptoms even after the drug discontinuation, and there is a growing body of evidence implicating altered arginine metabolism in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The present study investigated the effects of withdrawal from repeated daily injection of PCP (2 mg/kg) for 12 consecutive days on animals'behavioural performance and arginine metabolism in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in male young adult rats. Repeated PCP treatment reduced spontaneous alternations in the Y-maze and exploratory and locomotor activities in the open field under the condition of a washout period of 24 h, but not 4 days. Interestingly, the PCP treated rats also displayed spatial working memory deficits when tested 8–10 days after withdrawal from PCP and showed altered levels of arginase activities and eight out of ten l-arginine metabolites in neurochemical- and region-specific manner. Cluster analyses showed altered relationships among l-arginine and its three main metabolites as a function of withdrawal from repeated PCP treatment in a duration-specific manner. Multiple regression analysis revealed significant neurochemical-behavioural correlations. Collectively, the results suggest both the residual and long-term effects of withdrawal from repeated PCP treatment on behavioural function and brain arginine metabolism. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, the influence of the withdrawal duration on animals' behaviour and brain arginine metabolism.

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