Lysine vasopressin (0.03 μg/kg, sc) enhanced retention of a one-trial, step-through inhibitory avoidance task when injected into male Swiss mice immediately post-training, as indicated by retention performance 48 h later. A low dose of the vasopressin antagonist, AAVP (0.01 μg/kg, sc), did not significantly affect retention, whereas a higher dose (0.03 μg/kg, sc) impaired retention. Neither lysine vasopressin nor AAVP modified latencies to step-through of mice that had not received a footshock during training. The simultaneous injection of AAVP (0.01 μg/kg, sc) prevented the enhancement of retention induced by lysine vasopressin. The influence of lysine vasopressin on retention was antagonized by the simultaneous administration of mecamylamine (5 mg/kg, sc) but not by hexamethonium (5 mg/kg, sc), atropine (0.5 mg/kg, sc), or methylatropine (0.5 mg/kg, sc). A modulatory role of vasopressin on the activity of central cholinergic nicotinic mechanisms which participate in memory formation is suggested.
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