Repeated blockade of mineralocorticoid receptors, but not of glucocorticoid receptors impairs food rewarded spatial learning

B.R. Douma, S.M. Korte, B. Buwalda, S.E. la Fleur, B. Bohus, P.G. Luiten

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    57 Citations (Scopus)


    Corticosteroids from the adrenal cortex influence a variety of behaviours including cognition, learning and memory. These hormones act via two intracellular receptors, the mineralo-corticoid receptor (MR) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). These two receptor types display a high concentration and distinct distribution in the hippocampus, a brain region which is directly involved in the regulation of spatial orientation and learning. In this study, repeated subcutaneous administration of the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist RU28318 (1.0 mg/100 g body weight), the glucocorticoid receptor blocker RU38486 (2.5 mg/100 g body weight), or a combination of both antagonists were investigated for their effects on working - and reference memory in morning and afternoon trials during 8 subsequent days in food rewarded spatial learning in a hole board task. Each rat received one dose of either vehicle (2% ethanol in PEG 400), RU28318, RU38486 or the combination of both antagonists directly after the first trial on training days 1, 3, 5, and 7. The experiments demonstrated that repeated blockade of mineralocorticoid receptors impairs reference memory reflected in the morning - as well as in the afternoon trial, whereas blockade of glucocorticoid receptors has little effect on this type of cognitive behaviour. Furthermore, combined blockade of MRs and GRs resulted in a decrease, in both daily trials, in reference memory as well as working memory performance. These findings suggest that in this spatial learning paradigm, the impairment of working memory required blockade of both receptor types, while reference memory performance involves predominantly the mineralocorticoid receptors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33-44
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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