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This study addressed the proposed memory-modulating effect of the cholecystokinin (CCK) 2 agonist Boc-CCK-4 in rats using a Morris water maze. In the brain, CCK is colocalized and interacts with dopamine, respectively. To impair dopaminergic neurotransmission, and consequently, dopamine-mediated learning and memory, rat pups received the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the left [Day 5 postnatal (p.n.)] and right (Day 8 p.n.) ventricles (50 microg/5 microl each). After 6-OHDA treatment, dopamine brain levels were reduced by 60% on Day 50 p.n. Lesioned rats had a lower body weight but normal swimming abilities. In the acquisition phase of the water maze (Day 50 p.n.), sham-lesioned rats learned quickly, compared to lesioned rats. Treatment with Boc-CCK-4 (40 microg/kg ip) did not affect performance in sham-lesioned rats but restored the learning curve in lesioned rats without increasing swimming speed indicating a better spatial learning in the dopamine-depleted rats. In summary, these findings demonstrate that stimulation of CCK2 receptors may counteract cognitive deficits of dopamine-depleted rats.