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Behav Brain Res. 2006 Nov 25;175(1):112-8. Epub 2006 Sep 12.

NMDA antagonist MK-801 impairs acquisition of place strategies, but not their use.

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Department of Psychology, Radford University, Radford, VA 24142, USA.


Evidence that NMDA receptors contribute to synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus has stimulated research on their role in behavioral learning and memory. Recent studies indicate that NMDA antagonists decrease use of place strategies by rats in a T-maze task that can be solved using either a "place" or "response" strategy. In the present study, rats were given MK-801 before maze exposure and/or training on this redundant strategy T-maze task. MK-801 did not impair rats' ability to learn the task, but did change the strategies they used on a probe trial administered after learning. MK-801 decreased use of place strategies only when administered before both maze exposure and training; rats given MK-801 only before maze exposure or only before training tended to use place strategies on the probe trial. These results show that MK-801 does not prevent rats from utilizing previously acquired spatial information, but does appear to impair the acquisition of spatial information needed for place strategies.

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