Sulpiride and mnemonic function: effects of a dopamine D2 receptor antagonist on working memory, emotional memory and long-term memory in healthy volunteers

MA Mehta*, EC Hinton, AJ Montgomery, RA Bantick, PM Grasby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is now substantial evidence from animal studies showing modulation of cognitive performance after administration of dopaminergic agents. Previous studies have focused on cognitive functions such as working memory (WM), with particular reference to spatial processing. However, to date, studies in normal human volunteers have proved inconsistent. We have therefore tested the effects of the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride (400 mg) on WM and learning tasks, including those using auditory, spatial or non-spatial. stimuli. A further aim was to explore a broader rote of the dopaminergic system in mnemonic function by examining tong-term and emotional memory. Eighteen healthy male participants were given a battery of cognitive tests after oral sulpiride or placebo, using the cross-over design. WM was assessed using a spatial searching task, and a task of auditory counting with distraction. Tasks that did not emphasize WM were spatial and non-spatial trial-and-error Learning, Long-term spatial memory and emotional memory. After dopamine D2 receptor blockade, performance was not impaired on the spatial WM (SWM) task, but was impaired on the auditory counting task with distraction. Sulpiride did not impair, but rather appeared to enhance trial-and-error learning overall. Thus, we were unable to support the notion that dopaminergic modulation preferentially influences spatial over non-spatial processing during learning. In addition, recognition was impaired in the emotional memory task after encoding on drug compared to placebo. These findings question the precise rote of dopamine D2 receptor modulation on WM, and highlight the need for sensitive tests to study dopaminergic modulation of emotional processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour

Keywords

  • cognition
  • dopamine
  • emotional memory
  • learning
  • Parkinson's disease
  • selective attention
  • sulpiride
  • working memory
  • PARKINSONS-DISEASE
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • NEUROLEPTIC ZETIDOLINE
  • SUBJECTIVE FEELINGS
  • SYSTEMIC SULPIRIDE
  • DELAYED-RESPONSE
  • ANALOG SCALES
  • PHARMACO-EEG
  • BRAIN-INJURY
  • PERFORMANCE

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