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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1996 Feb;123(4):340-5.

Strain-dependent effects of cocaine on memory storage improvement induced by post-training physostigmine.

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Istituto di Psicobiologia e Psicofarmacologia, CNR, Roma, Italy.


Post-training administration of the inhibitor of cholinesterase enzymes, physostigmine, dose-dependently (0.025-0.4 mg/kg) improved retention of an inhibitory avoidance response in C57BL/6 (C57) as well as in DBA/2 (DBA) mice, the latter being more responsive than C57 mice. The effects on retention performance induced by physostigmine in C57 and DBA mice appeared to be due to an effect on memory consolidation. In fact, they were observed when drugs were given at short, but not long, periods of time after training, which is when the memory trace is susceptible to modulation. Moreover, these effects are not to be ascribed to a rewarding or non-specific action of the drugs on retention performance, as the latencies during the retention test of those mice that had not received a footshock during the training were not affected by the post-training drug administration. Post-training administration of cocaine (1-5 mg/kg) dose-dependently improved retention of an inhibitory avoidance response in C57 mice, while impairing it in the DBA strain, thus confirming previous results (Puglisi-Allegra et al. 1994b). Pretreatment with cocaine at ineffective doses as well as at an effective one potentiated the effects of an ineffective as well as of an effective dose of physostigmine in C57 mice, while it antagonized the effects of the inhibitor of cholinesterase enzymes on memory consolidation in DBA mice. The present results indicate that the indirect DA receptor agonist cocaine affects physostigmine action on memory consolidation in an opposite manner in the two inbred strains, pointing to genotype-dependent interaction between cholinergic and dopaminergic activity in memory consolidation.

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