The PDE4 inhibitor rolipram reverses object memory impairment induced by acute tryptophan depletion in the rat

K. Rutten*, C. Lieben, L. Smits, A. Blokland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The selective type IV phosphodiesterase inhibitor, rolipram, has been shown to improve long-term memory and can reverse the cholinergic deficit caused by scopolamine. However, the underlying mechanisms of action of rolipram remain obscure. The present study investigates the effect of rolipram in a serotonergic-deficit model of acute tryptophan depletion (ATD). In addition, the levels of plasma tryptophan (TRP) were compared to object recognition performance. The experiments were conducted using male Wistar rats. The time-dependent effect of ATD treatment (a gelatin-based protein mixture) on plasma TRP levels (0, 1, 3, and 6 h after injection) and object recognition task (ORT) performance (0.5, 1, 3, and 6 h after ATD treatment) was examined. The effect of rolipram (0, 0.01, 0.03, and 0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) was tested in the condition in which ATD induced a clear memory deficit. ATD significantly lowered the plasma TRP ratio (TRP/Sigma large neutral amino acid) with a maximum of 48%, approximately 1 h after administration. Furthermore, ATD impairs ORT performance when administered 3 h before testing. Rolipram (0.1 mg/kg) reversed the memory deficit induced by ATD in a dose-dependent manner. On the basis of previous studies and the ability to reverse a serotonergic deficit, we suggest that rolipram may act through elevation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels and subsequent increase in neurotransmitter release.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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