Lack of the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 7 selectively impairs short-term working memory but not long-term memory

Behav Brain Res. 2004 Oct 5;154(2):473-81. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2004.03.015.


Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), and in particular the mGluR group III receptors (subtypes 4, 6, 7, 8) are known to play a role in synaptic plasticity and learning. Here, we report the effect of mGluR7 gene ablation in different learning paradigms. In the acoustic startle response (ASR), no differences were seen between knockout (KO) mice and wildtype (WT) littermates in parameters including prepulse inhibition and habituation. In an open field test, no differences were seen between genotypes in motor activity, exploratory behaviour, and fearful behaviour. In a T-maze reinforced alternation working memory (WM) task, again no difference was seen between groups. However, when increasing the demands on working-memory in a 4-arm and 8-arm maze task, KO mice committed more WM errors than WT littermates thereby uncovering a highly significant difference between the two groups that persisted every day for the whole 9 days of the experiment. In a 4-arm maze with 2 arms baited, KO and wildtype mice committed the same number of LTM errors, whereas KOs committed more WM errors. Altogether, these findings suggest that a lack of mGluR7 mainly impairs short-term working but not long-term memory performance while having no effect on sensorimotor processing, non-associative learning, motor activity and spatial orientation. The effects on WM are task-dependent and become apparent in more complex but not simple learning tasks. We discuss how mGluR7 could influence WM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / deficiency*
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / genetics
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / physiology
  • Reflex, Startle / genetics
  • Time Factors


  • GluK3 kainate receptor
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid