Anesthetic Ketamine Impairs Rats' Recall of Previous Information The Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitor N-nitro-L-arginine Methylester Antagonizes This Ketamine-induced Recognition Memory Deficit
Background: There is poor experimental evidence concerning the effects of anesthetic doses of the noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist ketamine on rodents' memory abilities. The current study was designed (1) to investigate the consequences of posttraining administration of anesthetic ketamine (100 mg/kg intraperitoneally) on rats' recognition memory and (2) to evaluate the ability of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME; 1, 3, and 10 mg/kg intraperitoneally) to counteract the expected behavioral deficits produced by anesthetic ketamine. Finally, in an attempt to clarify if the expected memory impairments produced by anesthetic ketamine were related to the anesthesia, we also tested the effects of a subanesthetic dose of it (3 mg/kg intraperitoneally) on rats' recognition memory. Methods: The novel object recognition test, a procedure assessing recognition memory in rats, was selected. Results: Posttraining administration of anesthetic (but not of subanesthetic) ketamine disrupted rats' performance in the novel object recognition paradigm. The discrimination index (D) was decreased by ketamine from 0.415 (using saline) to 0.128, thus indicating that the anesthetic dose of ketamine impaired recognition memory. L-NAME (1-3, but not 10, mg/kg) reversed this memory deficit produced by ketamine; the D index of 0.128 using ketamine treatment was increased by 1 and 3 mg/kg L-NAME to 0.427 and 0.478, respectively. Conclusions: The current results indicate that anesthetic ketamine impaired rats' posttraining memory components (storage and/or retrieval of information) and that a nitric oxide component modulates its behavioral effects.