Effects of amphetamine on the plus-maze discriminative avoidance task in mice
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Rationale: The contradictory amphetamine effects on memory could be due to different protocols of amphetamine administration or the well-known anxiogenic effect of the drug. Objective: The effects of different protocols of administration of amphetamine were investigated on mice tested in the plus-maze discriminative avoidance task (DAT), which provides simultaneous information about memory and anxiety. Methods: Acutely pre- or post-training, 0.3, 1.0, or 3.0 mg/kg amphetamine-treated, 10-day chronically 3.0 mg/kg amphetamine-treated, 0.3 mg/kg amphetamine plus 0.25 mg/kg scopolamine and 3.0 mg/kg amphetamine plus 3.0 mg/kg tacrine-treated mice were conditioned to choose between two enclosed arms (one of which was aversive) while avoiding two open arms. Learning/memory was evaluated by the percentage time in the aversive enclosed arm (PTAV), and anxiety by the percentage time in the open arms (PTO). Results: Given acutely before conditioning, amphetamine significantly decreased PTO in training, suggesting an anxiogenic effect, and significantly increased PTAV in the test, suggesting an amnestic action. Given acutely after the conditioning, no action of this drug on memory was found. After repeated treatment, the anxiogenic effect disappeared, while the amnestic effect remained. While no effects of subeffective doses of amphetamine and scopolamine co-administration were detected, tacrine attenuated the amnestic effect of amphetamine. Conclusions: Amphetamine has different effects on DAT when given pre- or post-training. While acute pre-training amnestic action is temporally correlated with an anxiogenic effect, there is tolerance to the anxiogenic but not to the amnestic effect after repeated administration. Because this acute amnestic effect of amphetamine is attenuated by tacrine, a possible relationship with cholinergic system cannot be discarded as a mechanism to amphetamine-induced amnesia in DAT.
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