NMDA receptor blockade in the dorsolateral striatum impairs consolidation but not retrieval of habit memory.
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The present study investigated whether N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) mediate consolidation and retrieval of habit memory. Adult male Long-Evans rats were trained in a response learning version of a water plus-maze task in which rats were reinforced to make a habitual and consistent body-turn response at the maze choice point in order to mount a hidden escape platform. Prior research indicates that acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval in this task requires DLS function. The present study consisted of two experiments. In Experiment 1, rats received intra-DLS post-training injections of the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5- phosphonopentanoic acid (AP5; 2g/side) to examine the role of NMDA receptors in consolidation of habit memory. In Experiment 2, different groups of rats received a single pre-retrieval injection of AP5 in the DLS (AP5; 2g/side) during the last day of maze training to examine the potential role of NMDA receptors in retrieval of habit memory. Results indicated that post-training intra-DLS AP5 injections impaired memory consolidation. However, administration of AP5 at the same dose that impaired consolidation had no effect on memory retrieval. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating a role for NMDA receptors in the DLS in memory consolidation, and suggest that NMDA-dependent synaptic activity in the DLS may not be a critical component of habit memory retrieval.