Traumatic brain injury enhances the amnesic effect of an NMDA antagonist in rats

R. J. Hamm, B. R. Pike, D. M. O'Dell, Bruce G Lyeth

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23 Scopus citations


The authors have examined the effect of experimental traumatic brain injury on the amnesia produced by the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist MK-801. Rats were either subjected to a moderate level of fluid-percussion injury or prepared for injury but not injured ('sham injury'). Nine days following injury or sham injury, the rats were injected either with saline (sham/saline group, nine rats; injured/saline group, nine rats) or with 0.1 mg/kg of MK-801 (sham/MK-801 group, nine rats; injured/MK-801 group, eight rats) 30 minutes before being trained on a passive-avoidance task. Twenty- four hours later, the rats were tested for retention of the passive-avoidance task. Results revealed that the low dose of MK-801 did not significantly affect retention of the passive-avoidance task in the sham-injured group. In injured animals, administration of MK-801 produced a profound amnesia in contrast to the sham-injured animals treated with MK-801 and the injured animals treated with saline. To further investigate this enhanced sensitivity to the amnesic effects of MK-801 exhibited by the injured animals, nine injured and eight sham-injured rats were injected with 0.3 mg/kg of MK-801 15 minutes before injury. Results indicated that the animals treated with MK- 801 before injury did not significantly differ from the sham-injured animals in retention of the passive-avoidance task. In addition, test results in the animals treated with MK-801 before injury and reinjected with MK-801 before passive-avoidance testing did not differ from those in untreated injured animals reinjected with saline before passive-avoidance testing. These findings indicate that MK-801 treatment before injury prevented the enhanced sensitivity to MK-801-induced amnesia that follows traumatic brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-271
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • amnesia
  • brain injury
  • fluid-percussion injury
  • glutamate
  • memory
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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