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Behav Brain Res. 2012 Feb 1;227(1):276-86. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.10.052. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Consequences of early life MK-801 administration: long-term behavioural effects and relevance to schizophrenia research.

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Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Action, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia.


Animal models contribute significantly to advancing the understanding of schizophrenia neurobiology, in addition to being an important tool for the screening of antipsychotic potential of new compounds. However, the entire spectrum or all the symptoms manifested in schizophrenia cannot be straightforwardly reproduced in animals due to the complexity of the disorder, difference in mental capacities and behaviours, and the ability to quantify or measure the changes. Blockade of the NMDA receptor by the use of MK-801, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, during the early postnatal period has been proposed to be an experimental model which induces behavioural changes that mimic several aspects of the disorder. The long term behavioural profile arising from this early life manipulation is reviewed herein, with a specific focus on behaviours relevant to a schizophrenia-like condition. Some of the reported neurochemical changes are also compiled. Although this method may be suitable to model some aspects of schizophrenia in rodents, there are unmet areas which need to be addressed, notably the characterisation of its predictive value.

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