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The effects of memantine on prepulse inhibition.

  • Author(s): Swerdlow, NR
  • van Bergeijk, DP
  • Bergsma, F
  • Weber, E
  • Talledo, J
  • et al.
Abstract

Reduced prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle provides evidence of deficient sensorimotor gating in several disorders, including schizophrenia. The role of NMDA neurotransmission in the regulation of PPI is unclear, due to cross-species differences in the effects of NMDA antagonists on PPI. Recent reports suggest that drug effects on PPI differ in subgroups of normal humans that differ in the levels of baseline PPI or specific personality domains; here, we tested the effects of these variables on the sensitivity of PPI to the NMDA antagonist, memantine. PPI was measured in male Sprague-Dawley rats, after treatment with memantine (0, 10 or 20 mg/kg, s.c.). Baseline PPI was then measured in 37 healthy adult men. Next, subjects were tested twice, in a double-blind crossover design, comparing either (1) placebo vs 20 mg of the NMDA antagonist memantine (n=19) or (2) placebo vs 30 mg memantine (n=18). Tests included measures of acoustic startle amplitude, PPI, autonomic indices and subjective self-rating scales. Memantine had dose- and interval-dependent effects on PPI in rats. Compared with vehicle, 10 mg/kg increased short-interval (10-20 ms) PPI, and 20 mg/kg decreased long-interval (120 ms) PPI. In humans, memantine caused dose-dependent effects on psychological and somatic measures: 20 mg was associated with increased ratings of happiness, and 30 mg was associated with increased ratings of dizziness. PPI at the 120 ms prepulse interval was increased by 20 mg, but not 30 mg of memantine. Subgroups most sensitive to the PPI-enhancing effects of memantine were those with low baseline PPI, or with personality scale scores suggestive of high novelty seeking, high sensation seeking, or high disinhibition. NMDA blockade with memantine appears to have dose- and interval-dependent effects on sensorimotor gating in rats and humans, particularly among specific subgroups of normal human subjects. These findings are discussed as they relate to consistencies across other studies in humans, as well as apparent inconsistencies in the NMDA regulation of PPI across species.

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