Effects of the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 on classical eyeblink conditioning in mice

K Takatsuki, S Kawahara, K Takehara, Y Kishimoto, Y Kirino
Neuropharmacology 2001, 41 (5): 618-28
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are involved in synaptic plasticity and play a critical role in learning and memory. We investigated the effects of the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist (+)MK-801 on classical eyeblink conditioning of mice, using various interstimulus intervals between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US). A tone was used for the CS and a periorbital shock was used for the US. In the delay paradigm, in which the US coterminated with the CS or started immediately after CS offset, the effect of (+)MK-801 (0.1mg/kg, i.p.) was a slight impairment in the acquisition of the conditioned response (CR). During subsequent CS-alone trials, the responses of (+)MK-801-injected mice were extinguished as easily as those of saline-injected mice. In the trace paradigm, (+)MK-801 impaired acquisition of the CR with a trace interval of 250 ms more than it did with a trace interval of 100 ms, and more than in the delay paradigm. (+)MK-801 injected after acquisition of 250-ms trace conditioning did not impair expression or extinction of the CR. These results suggest that NMDA receptors are involved in acquisition of the CR during longer trace interval conditioning more than during shorter trace interval conditioning or delay conditioning, and that their contribution to extinction is much smaller than their contribution to acquisition in mouse eyeblink conditioning.

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