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J Neurosci. 2009 Jul 29;29(30):9534-44. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5199-08.2009.

L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel antagonists impair perirhinal long-term recognition memory and plasticity processes.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, Department of Anatomy, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.


The perirhinal cortex of the temporal lobe is essential for the familiarity discrimination component of recognition memory. In view of the importance of changes in calcium ion concentration for synaptic plasticity, the present study examined the effects of L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel (VDCC) antagonism on rat perirhinal-based familiarity discrimination processes and plasticity including long-term depression (LTD), long-term potentiation (LTP), and depotentiation. Single doses of three different types of L-type VDCC antagonists, verapamil, diltiazem, and nifedipine, administered systemically, or verapamil administered locally into the perirhinal cortex, impaired acquisition of long-term (24 h) but not shorter-term (20 min) recognition memory. L-type VDCC antagonism also disrupted memory retrieval after 24 h but not 20 min. Differential neuronal activation produced by viewing novel or familiar visual stimuli was measured by Fos expression. L-type VDCC antagonism by verapamil in perirhinal cortex during memory acquisition disrupted the normal pattern of differential Fos expression, so paralleling the antagonist-induced memory impairment. In slices of perirhinal cortex maintained in vitro, verapamil was without effect on baseline excitability or LTP but blocked LTD and depotentiation. The consistency of effects across the behavioral and cellular levels of analysis provides strong evidence for the involvement of perirhinal L-type VDCCs in long-term recognition memory processes.

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