Granisetron, a serotonin 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist, widely used as an antiemetic drug following chemotherapy, has been found to improve learning and memory. In this study, effects of granisetron on spatial recognition memory and fear memory and the involvement of nitric oxide (NO) have been determined in a Y-maze and passive avoidance test. Granisetron (3, 10mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was administered to scopolamine-induced memory-impaired mice prior to acquisition, consolidation and retrieval phases, either in the presence or in the absence of a non-specific NO synthase inhibitor, l-NAME (3, 10mg/kg, intraperitoneally); a specific inducible NO synthase (iNOS) inhibitor, aminoguanidine (100mg/kg); and a NO precursor, l-arginine (750 mg/kg). It is demonstrated that granisetron improved memory acquisition in a dose-dependent manner, but it was ineffective on consolidation and retrieval phases of memory. The beneficial effect of granisetron (10mg/kg) on memory acquisition was significantly reversed by l-NAME (10mg/kg) and aminoguanidine (100mg/kg); however, l-arginine (750 mg/kg) did not potentiate the effect of sub-effective dose of granisetron (3mg/kg) in memory acquisition phase. It is concluded that nitric oxide is probably involved in improvement of memory acquisition by granisetron in both spatial recognition memory and fear memory. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled The Cognitive Neuroscience.
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