The possible involvement of hippocampal N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in spontaneous object recognition was investigated in rats under different memory load conditions. We first estimated rats׳ object memory span using 3–5 objects in “Different Objects Task (DOT)” in order to confirm the highest memory load condition in object recognition memory. Rats were allowed to explore a field in which 3 (3-DOT), 4 (4-DOT), or 5 (5-DOT) different objects were presented. After a delay period, they were placed again in the same field in which one of the sample objects was replaced by another object, and their object exploration behavior was analyzed. Rats could differentiate the novel object from the familiar ones in 3-DOT and 4-DOT but not in 5-DOT, suggesting that rats׳ object memory span was about 4. Then, we examined the effects of hippocampal AP5 infusion on performance in both 2-DOT (2 different objects were used) and 4-DOT. The drug treatment before the sample phase impaired performance only in 4-DOT. These results suggest that hippocampal NMDA receptors play a critical role in spontaneous object recognition only when the memory load is high.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Oct 22, 2015
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