N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the ventral tegmental area are involved in retrieval of inhibitory avoidance memory by nicotine.Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2007 Oct; 88(3):352-8.NL
The interaction of opiate, cholinergic, glutamatergic and (possibly) dopaminergic inputs in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) influencing a learned behavior is certainly a topic of great interest. In the present study, the effect of intra-VTA administration of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor agents on nicotine's effect in morphine state-dependent learning was investigated. An inhibitory avoidance (IA) task was used for memory assessment in male Wistar rats. Subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of morphine (5 and 7.5mg/kg) immediately after training decreased IA response on the test day, which was reinstated by pre-test administration of the same doses of the opioid; this is known as state-dependency. Moreover, pre-test administration of nicotine (0.2, 0.4 and 0.6 mg/kg, s.c.) also reversed the decrease in IA response because of post-training morphine (5mg/kg). Here, we also show that when infused into the VTA before testing, NMDA (0.01 and 0.1 microg/rat) reverse the post-training morphine effect on memory. In addition, the sub-effective doses of NMDA (0.0001 and 0.001 microg/rat) in combination with a low dose of nicotine (0.1mg/kg) which had no effects by themselves, synergistically improved retrieval of IA memory on the test day. In contrast, pre-test administration of a competitive NMDA receptor antagonist D-AP5 (0.5, 1 and 2 microg/rat) which had no effect alone prevented the nicotine reversal of morphine effect on memory. Our data indicate that NMDA receptors in the VTA are involved in the reversing effect of nicotine on morphine induced state-dependency.