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Modafinil and Memory: Effects of Modafinil on Morris Water Maze Learning and Pavlovian Fear Conditioning

Summary: Modafinil and Memory: Effects of Modafinil on Morris Water Maze
Learning and Pavlovian Fear Conditioning
Tristan Shuman, Suzanne C. Wood, and Stephan G. Anagnostaras
University of California, San Diego
Modafinil has been shown to promote wakefulness and some studies suggest the drug can improve
cognitive function. Because of many similarities, the mechanism of action may be comparable to
classical psychostimulants, although the exact mechanisms of modafinil's actions in wakefulness and
cognitive enhancement are unknown. The current study aims to further examine the effects of modafinil
as a cognitive enhancer on hippocampus-dependent memory in mice. A high dose of modafinil (75 mg/kg
ip) given before training improved acquisition on a Morris water maze. When given only before testing,
modafinil did not affect water maze performance. We also examined modafinil (0.075 to 75 mg/kg) on
Pavlovian fear conditioning. A low dose of pretraining modafinil (0.75 mg/kg) enhanced memory of
contextual fear conditioning (tested off-drug 1 week later) whereas a high dose (75 mg/kg) disrupted
memory. Pretraining modafinil did not affect cued conditioning at any dose tested, and immediate
posttraining modafinil had no effect on either cued or contextual fear. These results suggest that
modafinil's effects of memory are more selective than amphetamine or cocaine and specific to
hippocampus-dependent memory.
Keywords: modafinil, memory, hippocampus, fear conditioning, Morris water maze
Modafinil (marketed as Provigil in the United States) is a novel
wake-promoting stimulant with low abuse potential used to treat


Source: Anagnostaras, Stephan - Neurosciences Program & Department of Psychology, University of California at San Diego


Collections: Biology and Medicine