This article summarizes our recent finding that the nociceptin system is involved in the regulation of learning and memory. The nociceptin-knockout mice show greater learning ability in the water maze task, an enhanced latent learning in the water finding task, better memory in the passive avoidance task, and further, larger long-term potentiation in the hippocampal CA1 region than wild-type mice. Nociceptin itself induces an impairment of passive avoidance task in wild-type mice, which is reversed by naloxone benzoylhydrazone (NalBzoH). Thus, the nociceptin system seems to play negative roles in learning and memory, and NalBzoH may act as a potent antagonist for the nociceptin receptor. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
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