Effect of pregabalin on fear-based conditioned avoidance learning and spatial learning in a mouse model of scopolamine-induced amnesia

Toxicol Mech Methods. 2017 Mar;27(3):181-190. doi: 10.1080/15376516.2016.1273426. Epub 2017 Jan 8.


Objectives: Cognitive deficits are one of the frequent symptoms accompanying epilepsy or its treatment.

Methods: In this study, the effect on cognition of intraperitoneally administered antiepileptic drug, pregabalin (10 mg/kg), was investigated in scopolamine-induced memory-impaired mice in the passive avoidance task and Morris water maze task. The effect of scopolamine and pregabalin on animals' locomotor activity was also studied.

Results: In the retention phase of the passive avoidance task, pregabalin reversed memory deficits induced by scopolamine (p < 0.05). During the acquisition phase of the Morris water maze pregabalin-treated memory-impaired mice performed the test with longer escape latencies than the vehicle-treated mice (significant at p < 0.05 on Day 5, and at p < 0.001 on Day 6). There were no differences in this parameter between the scopolamine-treated control group and pregabalin-treated memory-impaired mice, which indicated that pregabalin had no influence on spatial learning in this task. During the probe trial a significant difference (p < 0.05) was observed in terms of the mean number of target crossings between vehicle-treated mice and pregabalin-treated memory-impaired mice but there was no difference between the scopolamine-treated control group and mice treated with pregabalin + scopolamine. Pregabalin did not influence locomotor activity increased by scopolamine.

Discussion: In passive avoidance task, pregabalin reversed learning deficits induced by scopolamine. In the Morris water maze, pregabalin did not influence spatial learning deficits induced by scopolamine. These results are relevant for epileptic patients treated with pregabalin and those who use it for other therapeutic indications (anxiety, pain).

Keywords: Fear-based conditioned avoidance learning; Morris water maze; pregabalin; scopolamine; spatial learning.

MeSH terms

  • Amnesia / chemically induced
  • Amnesia / drug therapy*
  • Amnesia / psychology
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Psychological
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fear* / psychology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pregabalin / therapeutic use*
  • Scopolamine
  • Spatial Learning / drug effects*
  • Species Specificity


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Pregabalin
  • Scopolamine