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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Mar;30(2):223-9. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

Effects of clozapine on memory function in the rat neonatal hippocampal lesion model of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory, Box #3412, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Clozapine is an effective atypical antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia. It has the advantage of producing fewer extrapyramidal motor side effects than typical antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol. Schizophrenia involves more than the hallmark symptom of psychosis. Substantial cognitive impairment is also seen. Effective drug treatments against the cognitive impairment of schizophrenia need to be developed. The current study was conducted to determine the effects of clozapine on working memory in the rat neonatal hippocampal lesion model of schizophrenia, which includes symptoms of cognitive impairment. Infant Sprague-Dawley rats were given ibotenic acid lesions of the hippocampus on day 7 of age (using the day of birth as day 0). Controls were given vehicle infusions. In adulthood, the rats were trained on the 8-arm radial maze using the win-shift procedure. After 6 sessions of training, the lesioned rats and their controls were administered repeated injections of saline or clozapine (2.5 mg/kg) for the next 12 sessions of training. The females had significant radial-arm maze choice accuracy impairments caused by either clozapine or the hippocampal lesion, but the combination of the two treatments had no additive effect. The males showed a different pattern of effects. Intact males did not show a significant clozapine-induced impairment, whereas males with hippocampal lesions did show significant clozapine-induced impairment although hippocampal lesions by themselves did not significantly impair male choice accuracy. These data show that clozapine can cause memory impairment and it potentiates rather than reverses hippocampal lesion-induced deficits. There are critical sex-related differences in these effects.

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