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Spatial learning without NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation

Nature volume 378, pages 186189 (09 November 1995) | Download Citation

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Abstract

HIPPOCAMPAL lesions impair spatial learning in the watermaze1. Drugs that antagonize N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor activity, which is required for long-term potentiation (LTP) at various hippocampal synapses2–4, block LTP and impair water-maze learning4–6. This has led to the hypothesis that NMDA receptors, through their involvement in LTP, may be necessary for spatial4–11 and other forms of learning12,13. We examined this hypothesis using NPC17742 (2R,4R,5S-2-amino-4,5-(l,2-cyclo hexyl)-7-phosphonoheptano acid), a potent and specific antagonist of NMDA receptors14–17. Here we report that NPC17742 completely blocked dentate gyrus LTP but did not prevent normal spatial learning in rats that had been made familiar with the general task requirements by non-spatial pretraining. Although these results do not rule out a contribution of NMDA-mediated dentate LTP to spatial learning, they indicate that this form of LTP is not required for normal spatial learning in the watermaze.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Psychology and Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada

    • Deborah Saucier
    •  & Donald P. Cain

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https://doi.org/10.1038/378186a0

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