Role of cholinergic receptors in memory retrieval depends on gender and age of memory

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The phenomenon of utilizing information acquired in the past to make decision and performance in present depends on memory retrieval, which is affected in retrograde amnesia. Role of cholinergic receptors in memory retrieval is not much explored. In this study we evaluated the gender specific role of cholinergic receptors, i.e. muscarinic and nicotinic receptors, in memory retrieval in young Balb/c mice. Acute (only one injection, 30 min before test) and sub-chronic (five days) muscarinic blockade (using scopolamine = 1 mg/kg) before test impaired retrieval of contextual fear memory in male (31.45 ± 5.39% and 33.36 ± 3.78% respectively) and female mice (22.88 ± 5.73%; P < 0.05), except sub-chronically treated female group (33.31 ± 4.90%; P > 0.05). Only sub-chronic nicotinic receptor antagonism (using methyllycaconitine MLA = 87.5 μg/kg and dihydro β erythroidine DHβE = 1 mg/kg) in female showed significantly higher freezing response than control during contextual fear memory retrieval (60.85 ± 7.71% and 40.91 ± 7.53% respectively; P < 0.001). Acute and sub-chronic muscarinic antagonism (but not nicotinic antagonism) impaired spatial memory retrieval in male (P < 0.05) but not in female mice (P > 0.05). There was no effect of acute and sub-chronic cholinergic receptor antagonism on discriminating novel object from the familiar one in male and female mice, however, nicotinic receptor blockade affected the working memory of all male and female mice on test day compared to the training sessions. Our results suggested that cholinergic receptors involvement in retrieving spatial and fear memories depends on the age of the memory and gender.

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