Peripheral and intra-dorsolateral striatum injections of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 impair consolidation of stimulus-response memory.
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The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in modulating memory. In the present study, we examined whether cannabinoid agonists influence the consolidation of stimulus-response/habit memory, a form of memory dependent upon the dorsolateral striatum (DLS). In Experiment 1, rats were trained in a cued platform water maze task in which animals were released from different start points and in order to escape had to find a cued platform which was moved to various spatial locations across trials. Immediately following training, rats received an i.p. injection of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 (1 or 3mg/kg) or a vehicle solution. In Experiment 2, rats were trained in a forced-response version of the water plus-maze task in which a consistent body-turn response was reinforced across trials. Immediately following training, rats received an i.p. injection of WIN 55,212-2 (3 mg/kg) or vehicle. In Experiment 3, rats were trained in the cued platform task and after training received bilateral intra-DLS WIN 55,212-2 (100 ng/.5 L or 200 ng/.5 L) or vehicle. In Experiments 1-3, the higher doses of WIN 55,212-2 were associated with significant memory impairments, relative to vehicle-treated controls. The results indicate that peripheral or intra-DLS administration of a cannabinoid receptor agonist impairs consolidation of DLS-dependent memory. The findings are discussed within the context of previous research encompassing cannabinoids and DLS-dependent learning and memory processes, and the possibility that cannabinoids may be used to treat some habit-like human psychopathologies (e.g. posttraumatic stress disorder) is considered.