Effects of dizocilpine (MK-801) on motor activity and memory

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 The effects of MK-801 upon motor activity and memory were assessed in a novel use of open-field behavior testing. In this study, rats were treated with different doses of MK-801 (0.025, 0.05, 0.1 and 0.2 mg/kg) and given a brief 10-min exposure to an open-field in which locomotor activity and within-session habituation were measured. Doses of MK-801 ≤0.1 mg/kg had no effect upon locomotor activity or within-session habituation. MK-801 0.2 mg/kg produced a marked hyperlocomotion and completely prevented within-session habituation. One day later, the animals were tested for their retention of habituation to evaluate the effects of MK-801 on memory processes. In that animals treated with 0.2 mg/kg MK-801 failed to habituate to the novel environment under the influence of 0.2 mg/kg MK-801, it was not surprising that these animals were impaired on the retention test for the novel environment. Importantly, however, the 0.1 mg/kg MK-801 treatment, which did not affect locomotor activity or within-session habitation to the novel environment, severely interfered with retention of the novel environment. Additional experiments indicated that this result could not be accounted for by drug conditioning or drug state-dependent effects. Thus, the results indicated that MK-801 can produce profound effects upon motor activity and memory and that these two effects can be disassociated.

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Received: 11 June 1997 / Final version: 5 January 1998

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Carey, R., Dai, H. & Gui, J. Effects of dizocilpine (MK-801) on motor activity and memory. Psychopharmacology 137, 241–246 (1998).

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  • Key words Habituation
  • Open-field
  • Locomotion
  • MK-801
  • NMDA
  • Memory