A nitric oxide synthase inhibitor impairs memory storage in mice

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 1996 May;65(3):197-201. doi: 10.1006/nlme.1996.0023.


Posttraining administration of the L-enantiomer of the competitive inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 3-100 mg/kg, ip), impaired 48-h retention of a one-trial step-through inhibitory shock-avoidance task in male Swiss mice. The effects were dose-dependent and were not observed when the D-enantiomer (D-NAME, 3-100 mg/kg, ip) was injected instead of L-NAME. Retention latencies of mice that had not received a footshock during training were not affected by L-NAME. The memory impairment produced by L-NAME was time-dependent, suggesting an action on memory storage. The effects of L-NAME on memory were overcome by the injection of L-(but not D-)arginine (300 mg/kg, ip) along with the inhibitor. Considered together, these findings suggest that the L-arginine/nitric oxide pathway may be involved in memory storage of an inhibitory avoidance response in mice.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Arginine / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / drug effects*
  • Reaction Time / drug effects


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Arginine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester