Rationale: Therapies treating cognitive impairments in schizophrenia especially deficits in executive functioning are not available at present.
Objective: The current study evaluated the effect of ampakine CX516 in reversing deficits in executive functioning as represented in two animal models of schizophrenia and assessed by a rodent analog of the intradimensional-extradimensional (ID-ED) attentional set-shifting task. The second generation antipsychotic, sertindole, provided further validation of the schizophrenia-like disease models.
Methods: Animals were subjected to (a) sub-chronic or (b) early postnatal phencyclidine (PCP) treatment regimes: (a) Administration of either saline or PCP (5 mg/kg, intraperitonally b.i.d. for 7 days) followed by a 7-day washout period and testing on day 8. (b) On postnatal days (PNDs) 7, 9, and 11, rats were subjected to administration of either saline or PCP (20 mg/kg, subcutaneously (s.c.)) and tested on PNDs 56-95, after reaching adulthood. The single test session required rats to dig for food rewards in a series of discriminations following acute administration of either vehicle, or CX516 (5-40 mg/kg, s.c.), or sertindole (1.25 mg/kg, perorally).
Results: The specific extradimensional deficits produced by sub-chronic or early postnatal PCP treatment were significantly attenuated by sertindole and dose-dependently by CX516.
Conclusion: Findings here further establish PCP treatment as model of executive functioning deficits related to schizophrenia and provide evidence that direct glutamatergic interventions could improve these, when assessed in the ID-ED attentional set-shifting task.