Altered glutamatergic neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been implicated in a myriad of neuropsychiatric disorders. We previously reported that prenatal exposure to PCP produced long-lasting behavioral deficits, accompanied by the abnormal expression and dysfunction of NMDA receptors. In addition, these behavioral changes were attenuated by clozapine treatment. However, whether the prenatal exposure adversely affects pre-synaptic glutamatergic neurotransmission in postpubertal mice remains unknown. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of prefrontal glutamatergic neurotransmission in the impairment of cognitive and emotional behavior after prenatal PCP treatment (5. mg/kg/day) from E6 to E18 in mice. The PCP-treated mice showed an impairment of recognition memory in a novel object recognition test and enhancement of immobility in a forced swimming test at 8 weeks of age. Moreover, the prenatal treatment reduced the extracellular glutamate level, but increased the expression of a glial glutamate transporter (GLAST) in the PFC. The microinjection of DL-threo-β-benzyloxyaspartate (DL-TBOA, 10. nmol/site/bilaterally), a potent blocker of glutamate transporters, reversed these behavioral deficits by enhancing the prefrontal glutamatergic neurotransmission. Taken together, prenatal exposure to PCP produced impairments of long-term memory and emotional function which are associated with abnormalities of pre-synaptic glutamate transmission in the PFC of postpubertal mice. These findings suggest the prenatal inhibition of NMDA receptor function to contribute partly to the pathophysiology of neurodevelopment-related disorders, such as schizophrenia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience