Mathur P, Graybeal C, Feyder M, Davis MI, Holmes A. Fear memory impairing effects of systemic treatment with the NMDA NR2B subunit antagonist, Ro 25-6981, in mice: attenuation with ageing. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 91: 453-460
N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are mediators of synaptic plasticity and learning and are implicated in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disease and age-related cognitive dysfunction. NMDARs are heteromers, but the relative contribution of specific subunits to NMDAR-mediated learning is not fully understood. We characterized pre-conditioning systemic treatment of the NR2B subunit-selective antagonist Ro 25-6981 for effects on multi-trial, one-trial and low-shock Pavlovian fear conditioning in C57BL/6J mice. Ro 25-6981 was also profiled for effects on novel open field exploration, elevated plus-maze anxiety-like behavior, startle reactivity, prepulse inhibition of startle, and nociception. Three-month (adult) and 12-month old C57BL/6Tac mice were compared for Ro 25-6981 effects on multi-trial fear conditioning, and corticolimbic NR2B protein levels. Ro 25-6981 moderately impaired fear learning in the multi-trial and one-trial (but not low-shock) conditioning paradigms, but did not affect exploratory or anxiety-related behaviors or sensory functions. Memory impairing effects of Ro 25-6981 were absent in 12-month old mice, although NR2B protein levels were not significantly altered. Present data provide further evidence of the memory impairing effects of selective blockade of NR2B-containing NMDARs, and show loss of these effects with ageing. This work could ultimately have implications for elucidating the pathophysiology of learning dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders and ageing.
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