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Learning And Memory


The effect of blockade of S-HT1A receptors was investigated on (1) retention in a mildly aversive passive-avoidance task, and (2) spontaneous single-unit activity of central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) neurons, a brain site implicated in modulation of retention. Systemic administration of the selective S-HT1A antagonist NAN-190 immediately after training markedly-and dose-dependently-facilitated retention in the passive-avoidance task; enhanced retention was time-dependent and was not attributable to variations in wattages of shock received by animals. Systemic administration of NAN-190 had mixed effects on spontaneous single-unit activity of CeA neurons recorded extracellularly in vivo; microiontophoretic application of S-HT, in contrast, consistently and potently suppressed CeA activity. The present findings-that S-HT1A receptor blockade by NAN-190 (1) enhances retention in the passive-avoidance task, and (2) does not consistently increase spontaneous neuronal activity of the CeA-provide evidence that a serotonergic system tonically inhibits modulation of retention in the passive-avoidance task through activation of the S-HT1A receptor subtype at brain sites located outside the CeA.


This work is freely available courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.