, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 268–271 | Cite as

Radial maze as a tool for assessing the effect of drugs on the working memory of rats

  • O. Burešová
  • J. Bureš
Original Investigations


The effect of physostigmine (0.2 mg/kg), scopolamine (0.1 mg/kg), d,l-amphetamine (1 mg/kg), apomorphine (0.05 mg/kg), and piracetam (100 mg/kg) on working memory was examined in 12 rats that were highly overtrained in the radial maze. In experiment 1, drugs administered 10 min before the trial did not worsen performance of rats in the 12-arm maze. In experiment 2, insertion of a 5-min delay between the sixth and seventh choices increased the number of errors over choices 7–12. Performance was unaffected by pretreatment with physostigmine or apomorphine, but was significantly impaired by scopolamine, amphetamine, and piracetam. In experiment 3, performed in a 24-arm maze, the number of errors and trial duration increased, but performance was not decreased by amphetamine or piracetam. It is concluded that the uninterrupted radial maze task is relatively resistant to pharmacological disruption, but that scopolamine, amphetamine, and piracetam enhance the effect of stimuli interfering with the storage of spatial information over delays.

Key words

Radial maze Working memory Physostigmine Amphetamine Scopolamine Apomorphine Piracetam Rat 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alpern HP, Marriott JG (1973) Short-term memory: Facilitation and disruption with cholinergic agents. Physiol Behav 11:571–575Google Scholar
  2. Blackman DE, Sanger DJ (eds) (1978) Contemporary research in behavioral pharmacology. Plenum, New York LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Bureš J, Bohdanecký Z, Weiss T (1962) Physostigmine-induced hippocampal theta activity and learning in rats. Psychopharmacologia 3:254–263Google Scholar
  4. Burešová O (1980) Spatial memory and instrumental conditioning. Acta Neurobiol Exp 40:51–65Google Scholar
  5. Burešová O, Bureš J (1976) Piracetam-induced facilitation of interhemispheric transfer of visual information in rats. Psychopharmacologia 46:93–102Google Scholar
  6. Burešová O, Bureš J, Bohdanecký Z, Weiss T (1964) Effect of atropine on learning, extinction, retention, and retrieval in rats. Psychopharmacologia 5:255–263Google Scholar
  7. Burešová O, Škopková J (1980) Vasopressin analogues and spatial short-term memory in rats. Peptides 1:261–263Google Scholar
  8. D'Amato MR (1973) Delayed matching and short-term memory in monkeys. In: Bower GH (ed) The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory, vol 7. Academic, New York, pp 227–269Google Scholar
  9. Eckerman DA, Gordon WA, Edwards JD, MacPhail RL, Gage MY (1980) Effects of scopolamine, pentobarbital, and amphetamine on radial arm maze performance in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 12:595–602Google Scholar
  10. Giurgea C (1972) Vers une pharmacologie de l'activité intégrative du cerveau. Tentative de définition du concept nootrope en psychopharmacologie. Actual Pharmacol (Paris) 25:115–116Google Scholar
  11. Giurgea C, Salama M (1977) Nootropic drugs. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol 1:235–247Google Scholar
  12. Heise GA, Conner R, Martin RA (1976) Effect of scopolamine on variable interval spatial alternation and memory in the rat. Psychopharmacology 49:131–137Google Scholar
  13. Hunter WS (1913) The delayed reaction in animals and children. Behav Monogr 2:1–86Google Scholar
  14. Konorski J (1959) A new method of physiological investigation of recent memory in animals. Bull Acad Pol Sci (Biol) 7:115–117Google Scholar
  15. Kramis R, Vanderwolf Ch, Bland BH (1975) Two types of hippocampal rhythmical slow activity in both the rabbit and rat: Relations to behavior and effects of atropine, diethylether, urethane and pentobarbital. Exp Neurol 49:58–85Google Scholar
  16. Lidbrink P (1974) The effect of lesions of ascending noradrenaline pathways on sleep and waking in the rat. Brain Res 74:19–40Google Scholar
  17. Magni S, Krekule I, Bureš J (1979) Radial maze type as determinant of the choice behavior of rats. J Neurosci Lett 1:343–352Google Scholar
  18. Mindus P, Cronholm B, Levander SE, Schalling D (1976) Piracetam-induced improvement of mental performance. Acta Psychiatr Scand 54:150–160Google Scholar
  19. O'Keefe J, Nadel L (1978) Hippocampus as a cognitive map. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  20. Olton DS (1977) Spatial memory. Sci Am 236:82–98Google Scholar
  21. Olton DS, Becker JT, Handelmann GE (1979) Hippocampus, space and memory. Behav Brain Sci 2:313–322Google Scholar
  22. Olton DS, Collison C, Werz MA (1977) Spatial memory and radial arm maze performance of rats. Learn Motiv 8:289–314Google Scholar
  23. Olton DS, Feustle WA (1980) Hippocampal function required for nonspatial working memory. Exp Brain Res 41:380–389Google Scholar
  24. Olton DS, Samuelson RJ (1976) Remembrance of places passed: Spatial memory in rats. J Exp Psychol (Anim Behav) 2:97–116Google Scholar
  25. Olton DS, Walker JA, Gage FH (1978) Hippocampal connections and spatial discrimination. Brain Res 139:295–308Google Scholar
  26. Olton DS, Werz MA (1979) Hippocampal function and behavior: Spatial discrimination and response inhibition. Physiol Behav 20:597–605Google Scholar
  27. Robinson TE, Vanderwolf CH, Pappas BA (1977) Are the dorsal noradrenergic bundle projections from the locus coeruleus important for neocortical or hippocampal activation? Brain Res 138:75–98Google Scholar
  28. Thompson T, Dews PB (1977) Advances in behavioral pharmacology, vol 1. Academic, New York San Francisco LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Vanderwolf CH (1975) Neocortical and hippocampal ativation in relation to behavior: Effects of atropine, eserine, phenothiazine, and amphetamine. J Comp Physiol Psychol 88:300–323Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Burešová
    • 1
  • J. Bureš
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PhysiologyCzechoslovak Academy of SciencesPrague 4Czechoslovakia

Personalised recommendations