Rationale: Phencyclidine (PCP), a glutamate/N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, has been shown to induce a range of symptoms similar to those of patients with schizophrenia, while D-amphetamine induces predominantly positive symptoms. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that PCP can selectively impair the performance of an operant reversal-learning task in the rat. Furthermore, we found that the novel antipsychotic ziprasidone, but not the classical antipsychotic haloperidol, could prevent the PCP-induced deficit.
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to validate the model further using the atypical antipsychotic clozapine and then to investigate the effects of lamotrigine, a broad-spectrum anticonvulsant that is known to reduce glutamate release in vitro and is able to prevent ketamine-induced psychotic symptoms in healthy human volunteers. A further aim was to compare effects of PCP and D-amphetamine in the test and investigate the effects of the typical antipsychotic haloperidol against the latter.
Methods: Female hooded-Lister rats were food deprived and trained to respond for food in a reversal-learning paradigm.
Results: PCP at 1.5 mg/kg and 2.0 mg/kg and D-amphetamine at 0.5 mg/kg significantly and selectively impaired performance in the reversal phase of the task. The cognitive deficit induced by 1.5 mg/kg PCP was attenuated by prior administration of lamotrigine (20 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg) or clozapine (5 mg/kg), but not haloperidol (0.05 mg/kg). In direct contrast, haloperidol (0.05 mg/kg), but not lamotrigine (25 mg/kg) or clozapine (5 mg/kg), prevented a similar cognitive impairment produced by D-amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg).
Conclusions: Our findings provide further data to support the use of PCP-induced disruption of reversal learning in rodents to investigate novel antipsychotic drugs. The results also provide evidence for different mechanisms of PCP and D-amphetamine-induced disruption of performance in the test, and their different sensitivities to typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs.