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Behav Neural Biol. 1990 Jul;54(1):63-74.

Cholinergic receptor antagonists impair formation of intermediate-term memory in the chick.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Several experiments examined the effects of cholinergic receptor antagonists on formation of memory in the chick. Scopolamine produced amnesia in chicks trained on a one-trial peck avoidance task in a dose-dependent manner. Pretraining injection of scopolamine produced amnesia that developed between 15 and 30 min after training, suggesting that scopolamine interferes with intermediate-term memory (ITM), previously described to be active during this time (Patterson, Alvarado, Warner, Bennett, & Rosenzweig, 1986). Pretraining injection of scopolamine or ouabain, an inhibitor of ATPase activity shown previously to inhibit formation of ITM, produced identical time courses of amnesia development, supporting the hypothesis that scopolamine interferes with ITM. Pirenzepine, an inhibitor of M1 muscarinic receptors, was effective in producing amnesia, whereas gallamine, an M2 receptor inhibitor, did not produce amnesia. These results suggest that M1, but not M2, receptors are involved in memory formation in the chick.

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