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Brain Res Bull. 2003 Sep 30;61(5):489-95.

Ventral hippocampal NMDA blockade and nicotinic effects on memory function.

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Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, P.O. Box 3412, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Nicotinic acetylcholine and NMDA glutamate receptors play critical roles in memory function. The brain areas involved in their interaction are still under investigation. One likely area is the hippocampus. Ventral hippocampal administration of nicotinic antagonists impair memory. Hippocampal administration of NMDA antagonists also cause memory impairments. We evaluated the importance of ventral hippocampal NMDA receptors for nicotinic actions on memory by testing the impact of systemic nicotine on memory with and without administration of the NMDA antagonist dizocilpine into the ventral hippocampus. Sprague-Dawley rats (N=11) trained on the 16-arm radial maze were bilaterally implanted with local infusion cannulae in the ventral hippocampus. The effects on memory function of ventral hippocampal infusions of 0, 2, 6 and 18 microg per side of dizocilpine were examined with and without acute systemic nicotine administration (0 or 0.4 mg/kg). The dizocilpine doses tested did not cause memory deficits by themselves but only did so when given in combination with systemic nicotine. Blocking NMDA ventral hippocampal actions revealed an impairing action of nicotine on memory. Nicotine effects on other non-NMDA hippocampal receptor systems or extra-hippocampal systems may have been left unchecked by the diminished nicotinic effect on ventral hippocampal NMDA receptors.

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