The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of agomelatine, an antidepressant with melatonergic agonist and 5-HT(2C) antagonist properties, in the rat novel object recognition (NOR) task, a model of short-term episodic memory. To assess the potential involvement of its chronobiotic activity, single intraperitoneal administration of agomelatine and NOR testing were performed either in the evening or in the morning. In both conditions, using a 24h retention interval, vehicle-treated rats did not discriminate between the novel and the familiar object (recognition index was not different from chance performance) while object memory performance of rats treated with agomelatine either in the evening (10 and 40mg/kg) or in the morning (2.5, 10, and 40mg/kg) was significantly improved. Moreover, the selective 5-HT(2C) antagonist SB 242,084 (0.63, 2.5, and 10mg/kg) and melatonin (2.5, 10, and 40mg/kg) displayed also memory facilitating effects in both administration conditions. Finally, thioperamide used as positive reference compound to validate the experimental conditions, demonstrated a memory facilitating effect. In conclusion, agomelatine was shown to possess memory facilitating effects in the rat NOR task and both melatonergic agonist and 5-HT(2C) antagonist properties could be involved in these effects.
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