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J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Dec 15;185(1):66-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2009.09.014. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

Chronic infusion of PCP via osmotic mini-pumps: a new rodent model of cognitive deficit in schizophrenia characterized by impaired attentional set-shifting (ID/ED) performance.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, H. Lundbeck A/S, Valby, Denmark.


The identification of animal disease-like models for cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia is of central importance to the successful development of pharmacological therapies for psychosis resulting in a functional outcome in patients. Executive function is one of the most severely affected cognitive domains in schizophrenia that remains inadequately treated by existing therapies. The rat attentional set-shifting (or intra-dimensional-extra-dimensional (ID/ED)) task has been developed to test executive function in rodents and successful translation of pre-clinical data into the clinical setting now depends on the identification of a predictive animal disease-like model. The present study investigates whether a continuous 14-day mini-pump infusion of the non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist phencyclidine (PCP) leads to a deficit in the ID/ED task, and subsequently evaluates the effect of modafinil in this model. Lister hooded rats were implanted subcutaneously with osmotic mini-pumps containing saline or PCP (15 mg/kg/day) for 14 days followed by a 7-day drug-free recovery phase. Rats were then tested in the ID/ED task following an acute injection of either vehicle or modafinil. PCP-treated animals displayed a selective deficit at the ED shift stage resembling that observed in schizophrenic patients. This deficit was reversed by an acute injection of modafinil. The PCP-induced impairment and its reinstatement by modafinil are quantitatively and qualitatively similar to that described earlier by our group following sub-chronic intraperitoneal PCP administration, indicative that sub-chronic PCP infusion via osmotic mini-pumps may represent an attractive alternative to the systemic administration protocols generally employed to date.

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