Differential effects of MK-801 on cerebrocortical neuronal injury in C57BL/6J, NSA, and ICR mice

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Aug;24(6):925-38. doi: 10.1016/s0278-5846(00)00111-1.


1. Antagonists of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate (Glu) receptor, including [(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate], dizocilpine maleate (MK-801), injure pyramidal neurons in the posterior cingulate/retrosplenial (PC/RS) cortex when administered systemically to adult rats and mice. 2. These results have, to our knowledge, only been reported previously in Harlan Sprague Dawley albino rats and International Cancer Research (ICR) mice, an outbred albino strain. 3. Male Non-Swiss Albino (NSA) mice, an albino outbred strain, and male C57BL/6J (B6) mice, a pigmented inbred strain, were injected systemically with 1 mg/kg of MK-801 in the first experiment. This dose of MK-801 reliably produces cytoplasmic vacuoles in neurons in layers III and IV of the PC/RS cortex in 100% of ICR mice treated 4. There was a significant difference in the number of vacuolated neurons in B6 and NSA mice, as assessed by ANOVA. The NSA were not significantly different than previously examined ICR mice, but the B6 had fewer vacuolated neurons than either of the two outbred strains. 5. In the second experiment, male NSA, ICR, and B6 mice were injected systemically with a high dose, 10 mg/kg, of MK-801. This dose has been demonstrated to result in necrosis in the same population of neurons injured by lower doses of MK-801. 6. An ANOVA indicated that there was a significant difference among the three strains of mice, and a Fisher's protected t revealed that the B6 mice were significantly different from both the NSA and ICR, but that, with our test, those two strains were indistinguishable. 7. Male ICR, NSA, and B6 mice were tested in the holeboard food search task 5 hours after 1 mg/kg of MK-801. There were significant differences between the strains in performance both pre and posttreatment. The effect of the drug was not statistically significant. 8. These results suggest that there may be a genetically mediated difference in the reaction to NMDA receptor antagonists, a finding which may be important given the NMDA receptor hypofunction hypothesis for the etiology of schizophrenic symptoms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / adverse effects*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / genetics
  • Mice, Inbred ICR / genetics
  • Necrosis
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Dizocilpine Maleate