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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1993 May-Jun;71(5-6):352-64.

Cholinergic effects on spatial exploration and its memory.

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Preclinical Research, Sandoz Pharma Ltd., Basel, Switzerland.


In their first swim in an unfamiliar circular swimming pool, control rats showed declines in average swimming speed and in the time spent in the perimeter of the pool. Both declines were antagonized by the muscarinic antagonist scopolamine, but not by methylscopolamine, a muscarinic antagonist that crosses the blood-brain barrier only poorly, indicating that these declines depend upon central cholinergic activity. In the first minute of a second swim 3 days later, control rats spent a much longer time in the central region of the pool than in the first minute of the first swim. This modification of behaviour by previous experience suggests that a long-term memory of the first swim was formed. Scopolamine, but not methylscopolamine, administered before the first swim attenuated this modification of behaviour. Pilocarpine, administered shortly after scopolamine before the first swim, significantly normalized all the scopolamine-induced changes, whereas oxotremorine and arecoline normalized only habituation of perimeter preference; agonists administered alone decreased swimming speed and perimeter preference without affecting their rates of decline. The results suggest that in this test, different cholinergic mechanisms are involved in habituation of swimming speed and habituation of perimeter preference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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