Exposure to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on postnatal days 11-20 induces reference but not working memory deficits in the Morris water maze in rats: implications of prior learning
Vorhees CV, Reed TM, Skelton MR, Williams MT.
Division of Developmental Biology (MLC 7007),
Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation and
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine,
3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, USA.
Int J Dev Neurosci. 2004 Aug-Oct;22(5-6):247-59.


3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in previous experiments has been shown to induce long-term spatial and sequential learning and memory deficits in adult offspring after exposure to the drug on postnatal (P) days 11-20, but not after exposure on P1-10. Herein we further tested for the effects of MDMA (0, 5, 10 or 20mg/kg x 2/day) after exposure on P11-20 on reference and working memory in the Morris water maze (MWM), on reference memory in the Barnes maze, and on cued learning in the visible platform version of the MWM. The MWM and Barnes mazes were counterbalanced such that half the litters received the MWM-first and the other half received the Barnes maze first. Effects on MWM performance as a function of test order were observed. For animals that received the Barnes maze first, spatial MWM learning and memory trends were seen but they were not significantly different between MDMA groups and saline controls. For those receiving the MWM-first, there are consistent impairments on all measures in the MDMA groups compared to controls on MWM performance (latency, path length, and cumulative distance from the goal). On probe trials, MDMA animals receiving the MWM-first showed increased distance from the target site compared to controls. There were no MDMA effects seen on cued trials in the MWM or on straight channel swimming trials regardless of test order, indicating that MDMA had no effects on swimming ability or on the skills needed to learn the MWM. Similarly, there were no effects of MDMA on MWM working memory regardless of test order. No MDMA effects on the Barnes maze were found regardless of test order, however, the interpretation of this finding was compromised by the poor performance of the animals on this task.

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