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Behav Neurosci. 2005 Apr;119(2):548-56.

NMDA antagonist MK-801 does not interfere with the use of spatial representation in a familiar environment.

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Department of Psychology, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.


There is disagreement among researchers concerning whether glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play a role in constructing spatial representations. Therefore, the authors reexamined the effects of the NMDA antagonist on a spatial discrimination task using rats in a water pool. The authors confirmed that MK-801 impaired acquisition of the spatial discrimination task (Experiment 1). When rats were pretrained before drug treatment, MK-801 induced learning deficits in the novel environment but not in the familiar environment (Experiment 2). Moreover, in a familiar environment, MK-801 did not impair spatial learning, even when the task was completely novel for the rats (Experiment 3). These results suggest that NMDA receptors play an important role in the construction of spatial representations but not in the use of them.

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