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Neuropharmacology. 1996;35(8):1057-64.

The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate blocks deficits induced by a competitive NMDA antagonist in active avoidance and lever-press learning tasks in mice.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Psychophysiologie, URA 1295 CNRS, Universit√© Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.


The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate (PREG-S) has been shown to modulate positively NMDA receptor activity and to have memory enhancing properties in mice. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of post-training administration of PREG-S, alone or in combination with D-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (D-AP5), a competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, in Y-maze avoidance and appetitively motivated lever-press learning tasks and in a traction reflex test in mice. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of PREG-S (0.01-0.1 nmol/mouse) blocked the selective retention deficits induced by 0.02 nmol D-AP5 in the Y-maze avoidance task. PREG-S (0.1 nmol, i.c.v.) also blocked the retention deficits induced by 0.02 nmol D-AP5 in the lever-press task. Post-training administration of PREG-S alone (0.001-0.1 nmol, i.c.v.) had no effect on retention performance in the Y-maze and the lever-press tasks. PREG-S (1-10 nmol, i.c.v.) significantly reduced the impairment of the traction reflex induced by 2 nmol D-AP5. The ability of PREG-S to block retention performance deficits as well as motor impairment induced by D-AP5 is in agreement with its positive modulatory action at NMDA receptors.

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