Author(s): Stancampiano R, Cocco S, Cugusi C, Sarais L, Fadda F
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Abstract By using in vivo microdialysis we monitored the extracellular levels of acetylcholine and serotonin in the hippocampus of rats performing a spatial memory task. After rats were trained for 10 consecutive days to master a food-reinforced radial-arm maze task, they were implanted with a microdialysis probe in the dorsal hippocampus. On day 12, rats were tested in the maze and acetylcholine and serotonin outputs were monitored before the test, during the waiting phase and while performing the trials. In trained, food-rewarded rats, hippocampal acetylcholine levels increased during the waiting period (181 +/- 90 of baseline) and further increased during the radial-maze performance to 236 +/- 13\% of baseline values, while serotonin levels did not change during the waiting period but increased to 142 +/- 3\% during the maze performance. To discriminate whether the increase of acetylcholine and serotonin levels during the testing was associated with memory performance or with food consumption, we monitored hippocampal acetylcholine and serotonin release in rats that were trained, but not food rewarded, or in rats that were not trained, but rewarded only on the test day. In the trained, non-rewarded group, acetylcholine release increased during the waiting phase to 168 +/- 6\%, but did not increase further during the task performance. In contrast, no change in serotonin release was observed in this group in any phase of the test. In rats which were not trained, but food rewarded, acetylcholine increased only during the maze period (150 +/- 5\%). Serotonin increased gradually and become significant at the end of the trials. (130 +/- 3\%). While both neurotransmitters could be implicated in feeding behaviour, only activation of cholinergic neurotransmission appears to be associated with memory function. Our results support the following hypotheses: (i) hippocampal acetylcholine could be involved in attentional and cognitive functions underlying motivational processes; (ii) serotonin could be implicated in non-cognitive processes (i.e. in the control of motor and feeding behaviour). Since serotonin and acetylcholine neurotransmission is simultaneously activated during the spatial memory task, this suggests that these neurotransmitter systems regulate behavioural and cognitive functions.
This article was published in Neuroscience
and referenced in Natural Products Chemistry & Research