Systemic administration of the neurotensin NTS1 receptor agonist PD149163 improves performance on a memory task in naturally deficient male Brown Norway rats

Journal Title/Source

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology

Publication Date



in press

Page Numbers

in press

Document Type

Journal Article


Psychological Sciences


Agonists for neurotensin NTS1 receptor consistently exhibit antipsychotic effects in animal models without producing catalepsy, suggesting that NTS1 receptor agonists may be a novel class of drugs to treat schizophrenia. Moreover, studies utilizing NTS1 agonists have reported improvements in some aspects of cognitive functioning, including prepulse inhibition and learning procedures, that suggest an ability of NTS1 receptor agonists to diminish neurocognitive deficits. The present study sought to assess both baseline delay-induced memory performance and the effects of NTS1 receptor activation on learning and memory consolidation in male Long Evans and Brown Norway rats using a delayed non-match to position radial arm maze task. In the absence of drugs, Brown Norway rats displayed a significant increase in spatial memory errors following a 3, 7, and 24 hour delay, whereas Long Evans rats exhibited an increase in spatial memory errors following only a 7 and 24 hour delay. With Brown Norway rats, administration of PD149163 before or after an information trial significantly reduced errors during a retention trial after a 24 hour delay. Administration of the NTS1/2 receptor antagonist SR142948 prior to the information trial did not affect retention trial errors. These data are consistent with previous findings that Brown Norway rats have natural cognitive deficits and that they may be useful for assessing putative antipsychotic drugs for cognitive efficacy. Moreover, this study supports previous findings suggesting that NTS1 receptor agonists may improve some aspects of cognitive functioning.