The demonstration that the neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate (PREGS) is active on memory function at both the physiological and pharmacological levels led to us examining in detail the effects of the steroid on spatial working memory by using a two-trial recognition task in a Y-maze, a paradigm based on the natural drive in rodents to explore a novel environment. Dose-response studies in young male adult Sprague-Dawley rats and Swiss mice, after the postacquisition intracerebroventricular injection of steroid, showed an U-inverted curve for memory performance and indicated a greater responsiveness in rats compared with mice. Remarkably, the synthetic (-) enantiomer of PREGS not only also displayed promnesiant activity, but its potency was 10 times higher than that of the natural steroid. Intracerebroventricular coadministration experiments with DL-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid, a competitive selective antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, abolished the memory-enhancing effect of PREGS, but not that of the PREGS enantiomer, evoking enantiomeric selectivity at the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor and/or different mechanisms for the promnestic function of the two enantiomers.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Nov 20 2001|
- 2-amino-5-phosphovaleric acid
- N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor
- Spatial memory