Facilitation of learning and modulation of frontal cortex acetylcholine by ventral pallidal injection of heparin glucosaminoglycan
De Souza Silva, M.A.
We examined the effects of heparin on learning and frontal cortex acetylcholine parameters following injection of the glucosaminoglycan into the ventral pallidum. In Experiment 1, possible mnemoactive effects of intrapallidal heparin injection were assessed. Rats with chronically implanted cannulae were administered heparin (0.1, 1.0, 10 ng) or vehicle (0.5 μl) and were tested on a one-trial step-through avoidance task. Two retention tests were carried out in each animal, one at 1.5 h after training to measure short-term memory and another at 24 h to measure long-term memory. Post-trial intrapallidal injection of 1.0 ng heparin improved both short- and long-term retention of the task, whereas the lower and the higher dose of the glucosaminoglycan had no effect. When the effective dose of heparin was injected 5 h, rather than immediately after training, it no longer facilitated long-term retention of the conditioned avoidance response. In Experiment 2, the effects of ventral pallidal heparin injection on frontal cortex acetylcholine and choline concentrations were investigated with in vivo microdialysis in anaesthetized rats. Heparin, administered in the dose of 1.0 ng, which was effective in facilitating avoidance performance, produced a delayed increase in cortical acetylcholine levels ipsi- and contralaterally to the side of intrabasalis injection, resembling the known neurochemical effects obtained for another glycosaminoglycan, chondroitin sulfate, which recently was shown to facilitate inhibitory avoidance learning and to increase frontal cortex acetylcholine. The present findings indicate that heparin, like other extracellular matrix proteoglycans, can exert beneficial effects on memory and strengthen the presumptive relationship between such promnestic effects of proteoglycans and basal forebrain cholinergic mechanisms. The data are discussed with respect to the presumed roles of matrix molecules in extrasynaptic volume transmission and in the ‘cross-talk’ between synapses.