Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa E. Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Pietras

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The present study investigated the effects of early repetitive exposure to dextromethorphan (DM), an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, on learning acquisition and working memory in female rats. Twenty-four female rats received 10 daily injections of DM (40 mg/kg) from postnatal day 28 through 37, and were then exposed to an eight-arm radial maze task at 2 and 6 months of age. Results showed no significant difference in performance between DM-treated and vehicle control rats for both tests. Although the current findings showed no enduring deleterious effects of DM, there have been a number of studies showing acute impairments in learning and memory following early exposure to this drug. Therefore, recreational abuse of DM early in life can be dangerous; however, further research examining the drug's behavioral effects is warranted.

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