Ng, M.C., Hsu, C.P., Wu, Y.J., Wu, S.Y., Yang, Y.L., and Lu, K.T. (2012) Effect of MK-801-induced impairment of inhibitory avoidance learning in zebrafish via inactivation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in telencephalon. Fish physiology and biochemistry. 38(4):1099-1106.
N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are implicated in a wide range of complex behavioral functions, including cognitive activity.
Numerous studies have shown that using the repetitive administration of a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801,
induces amnesia in rodents. In this study, the effect of a subchronic MK-801 treatment on the cognitive function of zebrafish
was evaluated using a novel inhibitory avoidance task. First, we established a new system to investigate the inhibitory avoidance
learning of zebrafish where they were trained to refrain from swimming from a shallow compartment to a deep compartment in
order to avoid electric shock. Second, we found that blocking NMDA receptors by MK-801 could significantly attenuate the inhibitory
avoidance behavior of the zebrafish and alter the telencephalic extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation
level 90 min after the inhibitory avoidance training. These results suggest that the formation of long-term emotional memory
is possibly mediated by ERK activation in the telencephalon of zebrafish.