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Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

The Vasopressin 1b Receptor Antagonist A-988315 Blocks Stress Effects on the Retrieval of Object-Recognition Memory.


PMID 25669604

Abstract

Stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and high circulating glucocorticoid levels are well known to impair the retrieval of memory. Vasopressin can activate the HPA axis by stimulating vasopressin 1b (V1b) receptors located on the pituitary. In the present study, we investigated the effect of A-988315, a selective and highly potent non-peptidergic V1b-receptor antagonist with good pharmacokinetic properties, in blocking stress effects on HPA-axis activity and memory retrieval. To study cognitive performance, male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained on an object-discrimination task during which they could freely explore two identical objects. Memory for the objects and their location was tested 24 h later. A-988315 (20 or 60 mg/kg) or water was administered orally 90 min before retention testing, followed 60 min later by stress of footshock exposure. A-988315 dose-dependently dampened stress-induced increases in corticosterone plasma levels, but did not significantly alter HPA-axis activity of non-stressed control rats. Most importantly, A-988315 administration prevented stress-induced impairment of memory retrieval on both the object-recognition and the object-location tasks. A-988315 did not alter the retention of non-stressed rats and did not influence the total time spent exploring the objects or experimental context in either stressed or non-stressed rats. Thus, these findings indicate that direct antagonism of V1b receptors is an effective treatment to block stress-induced activation of the HPA axis and the consequent impairment of retrieval of different aspects of recognition memory.