Severe cross-modal object recognition deficits in rats treated sub-chronically with NMDA receptor antagonists are reversed by systemic nicotine: implications for abnormal multisensory integration in schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a complex and debilitating disorder, characterized by positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms. Among the cognitive deficits observed in patients with schizophrenia, recent work has indicated abnormalities in multisensory integration, a process that is important for the formation of comprehensive environmental percepts and for the appropriate guidance of behavior. Very little is known about the neural bases of such multisensory integration deficits, partly because of the lack of viable behavioral tasks to assess this process in animal models. In this study, we used our recently developed rodent cross-modal object recognition (CMOR) task to investigate multisensory integration functions in rats treated sub-chronically with one of two N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists, MK-801, or ketamine; such treatment is known to produce schizophrenia-like symptoms. Rats treated with the NMDAR antagonists were impaired on the standard spontaneous object recognition (SOR) task, unimodal (tactile or visual only) versions of SOR, and the CMOR task with intermediate to long retention delays between acquisition and testing phases, but they displayed a selective CMOR task deficit when mnemonic demand was minimized. This selective impairment in multisensory information processing was dose-dependently reversed by acute systemic administration of nicotine. These findings suggest that persistent NMDAR hypofunction may contribute to the multisensory integration deficits observed in patients with schizophrenia and highlight the valuable potential of the CMOR task to facilitate further systematic investigation of the neural bases of, and potential treatments for, this hitherto overlooked aspect of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia.
Project description:Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia have been hypothesized to reflect N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) dysfunction. However, the mechanisms through which the NMDAR contributes to individual cognitive functions differ. To explore how NMDAR signaling relates to specific cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, we tested the effects of enhancing NMDAR signaling on working memory and experience-dependent plasticity using d-cycloserine (DCS). Plasticity was assessed using an EEG paradigm that utilizes high-frequency visual stimulation (HFvS) to induce neural potentiation, and 2 learning tasks, the information integration (IIT) and weather prediction (WPT) tasks. Working memory was assessed using an N-back task. Forty-five schizophrenia patients were randomized to receive a single 100 mg DCS dose (SZ-DCS; n = 24) or placebo (SZ-PLC; n = 21) in a double-blind, between-groups design. Testing occurred on a single day after placebo or DCS administration; baseline values were not obtained. DCS did not affect plasticity, as indicated by similar neural potentiation, and similar IIT and WPT learning between groups. However, among patients who successfully engaged in the working memory task (ie, performed above chance), SZ-DCS (n = 17) showed superior 2-back performance compared to SZ-PLC (n = 16). Interestingly, SZ-DCS also showed larger pre-HFvS neural responses during the LTP task. Notably, this pattern of DCS effects is the opposite of those found in our prior study of healthy adults. Results are consistent with target engagement of the NMDAR by DCS, but suggest that NMDAR signaling was not translated into synaptic plasticity changes in schizophrenia. Results highlight the importance of considering how distinct NMDAR-associated processes contribute to individual cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
Project description:In real-world settings, information from multiple sensory modalities is combined to form a complete, behaviorally salient percept - a process known as multisensory integration. While deficits in auditory and visual processing are often observed in schizophrenia, little is known about how multisensory integration is affected by the disorder. The present study examined auditory, visual, and combined audio-visual processing in schizophrenia patients using high-density electrical mapping. An ecologically relevant task was used to compare unisensory and multisensory evoked potentials from schizophrenia patients to potentials from healthy normal volunteers. Analysis of unisensory responses revealed a large decrease in the N100 component of the auditory-evoked potential, as well as early differences in the visual-evoked components in the schizophrenia group. Differences in early evoked responses to multisensory stimuli were also detected. Multisensory facilitation was assessed by comparing the sum of auditory and visual evoked responses to the audio-visual evoked response. Schizophrenia patients showed a significantly greater absolute magnitude response to audio-visual stimuli than to summed unisensory stimuli when compared to healthy volunteers, indicating significantly greater multisensory facilitation in the patient group. Behavioral responses also indicated increased facilitation from multisensory stimuli. The results represent the first report of increased multisensory facilitation in schizophrenia and suggest that, although unisensory deficits are present, compensatory mechanisms may exist under certain conditions that permit improved multisensory integration in individuals afflicted with the disorder.
Project description:Object recognition tasks detect cognitive deficits in transgenic Alzheimer's disease (AD) mouse models. Object recognition, however, is not a unitary process, and there are many uncharacterized facets of object processing with relevance to AD. We therefore systematically evaluated object processing in 5xFAD and 3xTG AD mice to clarify the nature of object recognition-related deficits. Twelve-month-old male and female 5xFAD and 3xTG mice were assessed on tasks for object identity recognition, spatial recognition, and multisensory object perception. Memory and multisensory perceptual impairments were observed, with interesting dissociations between transgenic AD strains and sex that paralleled neuropathological changes. Overreliance on the widespread "object recognition" task threatens to slow discovery of potentially significant and clinically relevant behavioural effects related to this multifaceted cognitive function. The current results support the use of carefully designed object-based test batteries to clarify the relationship between "object recognition" impairments and specific aspects of AD pathology in rodent models.