The authors examined set-shifting abilities in rats injected with antagonists of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (MK801) or alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors (LY293558) into the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Set-shifting was assessed with a maze-based task requiring a switch between brightness and texture discrimination strategies. Intra-mPFC injection of MK801 prior to training on the 2nd discrimination impaired discrimination strategy acquisition. The MK801-induced deficit was due to increased perseverative responding. AMPA receptor blockade also impaired acquisition of the 2nd discrimination; these impairments were due to more general cognitive deficits. Results suggest that, within the mPFC, both AMPA and NMDA receptors are necessary for set-shifting, and that NMDA receptor hypofunction impairs the capacity to modify existing knowledge or to inhibit responses that are no longer appropriate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience