, Volume 196, Issue 1, pp 93-104
Date: 06 Oct 2007

Pro-cognitive effects of 5-HT6 receptor antagonists in the social recognition procedure in rats: implication of the frontal cortex

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Abstract

Rationale

5-HT6 receptor antagonists improve cognitive processes in rodents. However, their site(s) of action remains unexplored and their influence upon social memory has been little investigated.

Objectives

We examined the influence of 5-HT6 receptor ligands upon social memory in rats by use of systemic or local administration into the frontal cortex (FCX), striatum, or nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM).

Materials and methods

The social recognition test is based upon the ability of an adult rat to recognize a younger conspecific during the second of two 5-min sessions. In a procedure without an inter-session interval, the actions of drugs alone and the ability to reverse “amnesia” induced by the muscarinic antagonist, scopolamine (1.25 mg/kg, s.c.), were examined. The potential promnesic effect of drugs was also investigated in another procedure where a spontaneous deficit of recognition was induced by a 120-min inter-session interval.

Results

The 5-HT6 receptor agonist, WAY-181187 (10.0 mg/kg, i.p.), significantly impaired social recognition. This effect was abolished by the 5-HT6 receptor antagonists, SB-271046 (20.0 mg/kg, i.p.) and SB-258585 (10.0 mg/kg, i.p.). These agents also abolished scopolamine-induced amnesia (10.0 and 2.5 mg/kg, i.p., respectively) and reversed the delay-induced deficit (10.0–20.0 and 2.5–10.0 mg/kg, i.p., respectively). WAY-181187 into the FCX significantly impaired social recognition (0.16–0.63 μg/side). Conversely, SB-271046 into the FCX (2.5–5.0 μg/side), but neither into the striatum nor the NBM, significantly reversed spontaneous deficit.

Conclusion

These results indicate that 5-HT6 receptors modulate social recognition by actions in the FCX and underpin their pertinence as targets for the treatment of psychiatric disorders in which cognitive function is compromised.