Jun 7, 2005

Muscarinic and nicotinic receptor modulation of object and spatial n-back working memory in humans

Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior
Amity GreenPradeep J Nathan


Working memory impairments in the n-back task in schizophrenia have been linked to sustained deficiency in mesocortical dopamine function. More recently, abnormalities in the cholinergic system have also been documented in schizophrenia, with cortical reductions in both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. While the cholinergic hypothesis of memory is well established, the role of cholinergic receptors in modulating n-back working memory is not known. We investigated the effects of selective and simultaneous muscarinic and nicotinic antagonism on spatial and object n-back working memory performance. The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled repeated-measures design in which 12 healthy subjects were tested under four acute treatment conditions; placebo (P), mecamylamine (M), scopolamine (S) and mecamylamine+scopolamine (MS). Muscarinic antagonism with scopolamine significantly impaired both object and spatial n-back working memory, whereas nicotinic antagonism with mecamylamine had little effect. Simultaneous antagonism of both muscarinic and nicotinic receptors produced greater impairments in both object and spatial n-back working memory performance than muscarinic or nicotinic antagonism alone. These results suggest that...Continue Reading

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