Roles of oxytocin in spatial learning and memory in the nucleus basalis of Meynert in rats.
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The present study was performed to explore the role of oxytocin (OT) in spatial learning and memory in the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) of rats. The latency, distance and swimming path to find the platform were tested by Morris water maze and recorded by a video camera connected to a computer. Intra-NBM injections of 2 or 10 nmol of OT, but not 0.2 nmol of OT, induced significant increase on the latency of spatial learning. Rats receiving intra-NBM administrations of 2 or 10 nmol of OT showed a more random search pattern. There were no significant changes in the swimming speed in Morris water maze test after the injection of OT. Furthermore, the impaired effect of OT on the latency of spatial learning was blocked by intra-NBM injection of the selective OT antagonist Atosiban, indicating that the effect of OT was mediated by OT receptor in the NBM of rats. Moreover, there were no influences of OT or Atosiban on the retention performance in rats. The results suggest that OT plays an inhibitory role in spatial learning in the NBM; the effect is mediated by OT receptor.
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