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Behav Neurosci. 1997 Dec;111(6):1303-12.

Age- and dose-dependent facilitation of associative eyeblink conditioning by D-cycloserine in rabbits.

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  • 1Cognition and Neuroscience Program, School of Human Development, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson 75083-0688, USA.


Normal aging selectively impairs some forms of learning. For example, aging rabbits require more than twice as many trials to acquire 500-ms trace eyeblink conditioning than do young rabbits. N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists also impair trace conditioning. The effects of daily D-cycloserine (DCS; a partial agonist of the NMDA receptor-glycine site) treatment were tested on trace conditioning of young or aging rabbits using a conservative quantitative approach. DCS dose dependently improved acquisition, maximally reducing trials to criterion by approximately 50%. Dose-response curves were right-shifted by aging (twice the dose was required to achieve the same enhancement compared with controls). DCS did not affect nonassociative performance but sharpened the conditioned stimulus tone intensity discrimination. DCS thus can functionally modulate NMDA receptors in normal aging, enhance associative learning at all ages, and reduce or reverse age-dependent learning deficits.

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