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Behav Brain Res. 2002 Apr 1;131(1-2):221-5.

MK-801 induced amnesia for the elevated plus-maze in mice.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Vijdenska 1083, 142 20 4, Prague, Czech Republic.


MK-801, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, has been shown to have amnesic properties in animal models. The purpose of the present study was to examine potential amnesic effects of MK-801 in mice using the modified elevated plus-maze paradigm. An animal was placed on the distal end of an open arm, and the transfer latency, i.e. the time in which it moves to the enclosed arm, was measured. Four different experimental schedules (i.e. the combination of the treatment and the testing) were used: MK-801 (0.075, 0.15, 0.25 and 0.4 mg/kg or saline) were given (a) 30 min before the acquisition session, (b) immediately after the acquisition session, (c) 60 min after the acquisition session, and (d) 30 min before the retention session. The retention session always followed 24 h after the acquisition session. Analysis of data showed a significant shortening of the transfer latency in saline-treated animals during the retention session. Further, MK-801 (at the dose range of 0.15--0.4 mg/kg) administered before and immediately after the acquisition session as well as before the retention session prolonged the transfer latency during the retention session. In fact, transfer latencies in MK-801 treated mice did not differ from those measured during the acquisition session. Thus, prolongation of the transfer latency in MK-801-treated mice indicates deficits in 'memorization' processes. On the contrary, MK-801 given 60 min after the acquisition session failed to increase the transfer latency, which suggests that the memory trace was sufficiently consolidated at this time. Based on the present results, the glutamatergic NMDA receptor mechanisms play an important role in a spatial orientation of mice placed on the elevated plus-maze.

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