, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 165-172

Improvement of memory in rodents by the selective CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist, SR 141716

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Social short-term memory in rodents is based on the recognition of a juvenile by an adult conspecific when the juvenile is presented on two successive occasions. Cannabimimetics are claimed to induce memory deficits in both humans and animals. In the brain, they mainly bind to CB1 receptors for which anandamide is a purported endogenous ligand. SR 141716, a specific antagonist of CB1 receptors, dose-dependently reverses biochemical and pharmacological effects of cannabimimetics. More particularly, it antagonizes the inhibition of hippocampal long-term potentiation induced by WIN 55,212-2 and anandamide, and it increases arousal when given alone. The present experiments study the ability of SR 141716 (from 0.03 to 3 mg/kg SC) to facilitate short-term olfactory memory in the social recognition test in rodents. SR 141716 improved social recognition in a long intertrial paradigm with a threshold dose of 0.1 mg/kg SC. At 1 mg/kg, it antagonized the memory disturbance elicited by retroactive inhibition. Scopolamine (0.06 mg/kg IP) partially reversed its memory-enhancing effect. Moreover, SR 141716 reduced memory deficit in aged rats (0.03–0.1 mg/kg) and mice (0.3–1 mg/kg). As SR 141716 is not known to exhibit any pharmacological activity which is not mediated by CB1 receptors, the results strongly support the concept that blockade of CB1 receptors plays an important role in consolidation of short-term memory in rodents and suggest there may be a role for an endogenous cannabinoid agonist tone (anandaminergic) in forgetting.