Role of D2 dopamine receptors of the ventral pallidum in inhibitory avoidance learning

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Abstract

In our present experiments, the role of D2 dopamine (DA) receptors of the ventral pallidum (VP) was investigated in one trial step-through inhibitory avoidance paradigm.

Animals were shocked 3 times in the conditioning trial, with 0.5 mA current for 1 s. Subsequently bilateral microinjection of the D2 DA receptor agonist quinpirole was administered into the VP in three doses (0.1 μg, 1.0 μg or 5.0 μg in 0.4 μl saline). We also applied the D2 DA receptor antagonist sulpiride (0.4 μg in 0.4 μl saline) alone or 15 min prior to the agonist treatment to elucidate whether the agonist effect was specific for the D2 DA receptors. Control animals received saline. In a supplementary experiment, it was also investigated whether application of the same conditioning method leads to the formation of short-term memory in the experimental animals.

In the experiment with the D2 DA receptor agonist, only the 0.1 μg quinpirole increased significantly the step-through latency during the test trials: retention was significant compared to the controls even 2 weeks after conditioning. The D2 DA receptor antagonist sulpiride pretreatment proved that the effect was due to the agonist induced activation of the D2 DA receptors of the VP. The supplementary experiment demonstrated that short-term memory is formed after conditioning in the experimental animals, supporting that the agonist enhanced memory consolidation in the first two experiments.

Our results show that the activation of the D2 DA receptors in the VP facilitates memory consolidation as well as memory-retention in inhibitory avoidance paradigm.

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