The basolateral amygdala dopaminergic system contributes to the improving effect of nicotine on stress-induced memory impairment in rats


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Abstract

Stress seems to be an important risk factor in the beginning and continuing stages of cigarette tobacco smoking in humans. Considering that both of nicotine administration and stress exposure affect cognitive functions including memory formation, the aim of the present study was 1) to evaluate the effect of subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of nicotine on memory formation under stress and 2) to assess the possible role of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in the effect of nicotine on stress-induced memory retrieval impairment. Adult male wistar rats were bilaterally implanted in the BLA. A step-through type passive avoidance task was used to measure memory retrieval. To induce acute stress, the animals were placed on an elevated platform. The results showed that pre-test exposure to 20 and 30 min stress, but not 10 min, impaired memory retrieval. Nicotine administration (0.05 mg/kg, s.c.) improved stress-induced memory retrieval impairment. The activation of the BLA dopamine receptors via bilateral microinjection of apomorphine (0.025–0.4 μg/rat), a non-selective dopamine receptor agonist, potentiated the effect of nicotine on stress-induced memory retrieval impairment. Interestingly, intra-BLA microinjection of SCH23390 (a selective dopamine D1 receptor antagonist; 0.02–0.5 μg/rat) or sulpiride (a selective dopamine D2 receptor antagonist; 0.02–0.5 μg/rat) dose-dependently inhibited nicotine-induced improvement of the stress amnesic effect. Taken together, it can be concluded that stress-induced impairment of memory retrieval can be improved by nicotine administration. Moreover, the dopaminergic neurotransmission in the BLA through D1 and D2 receptors mediates the improving effect of nicotine on stress-induced memory retrieval impairment.HighlightsPre-test exposure to stress impaired memory retrieval.Nicotine administration improved stress-induced memory retrieval impairment.Apomorphine potentiated the effect of nicotine on stress-induced memory impairment.SCH23390 (intra-BLA) inhibited nicotine-induced improvement of the stress effect.Sulpiride (Intra-BLA) reversed nicotine effect on stress-induced memory impairment.

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