The role of the medial prefrontal cortex of rats in short-term memory functioning: further support for involvement of cholinergic, rather than dopaminergic mechanisms

Brain Res. 1995 Mar 20;674(2):221-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(95)00025-l.


The putative involvement of the dopaminergic innervation of the medial part of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in short-term memory functioning was investigated by evaluating the effects of local infusions of dopaminergic drugs into the ventral part of the medial PFC of rats in an operant delayed-matching-to-position (DMTP) task. Two separate groups of rats were tested after bilateral microinfusion of several doses of either the dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine (APO) or the dopamine receptor antagonist cis-flupenthixol (FLU) into the ventromedial PFC. In addition, all animals were tested after infusion of several doses of the muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine (SCO) and the dopamine DI receptor antagonist SCH-23390 (SCH). The drugs tested affected DMTP performance differentially. APO had no effect on response accuracy, although it dose-dependently affected nose poke activity and response latencies. FLU and SCH both induced a dose-dependent, but delay-independent deterioration of response accuracy that was paralleled by increases in response latencies and decreases in nose poke frequencies, causing some animals to stop responding after infusion of the highest doses of both drugs. In contrast, SCO infusions into the ventromedial PFC induced a dose- and delay-dependent deterioration of response accuracy, that was accompanied by an increase in response latencies only. Taken together, these results provide additional support for the involvement of cholinergic, rather than dopaminergic mechanisms in short-term memory supported by the medial PFC of the rat, and they are not in favor of a functional dissociation between the dorsomedial PFC and the ventromedial PFC in the role.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Flupenthixol / pharmacology
  • Food Deprivation / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Scopolamine / pharmacology


  • Benzazepines
  • Scopolamine
  • Flupenthixol
  • Apomorphine
  • Dopamine