The effect of modafinil on acquisition of a place delayed non-matching to sample water escape task in rat

Christopher Peyton Ward

Abstract

Modafinil (diphenyl-methyl-sulphinil-2-acetamide) is a wake-promoting drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of narcolepsy. Recent evidence suggests that modafinil may improve learning and memory processes. To further evaluate possible cognitive properties associated with modafinil, male Sprague-Dawley rats were tested in a delayed non-matching to position task. A modified water maze allowed animals to make one of two choices for the location of the escape platform. Each trial consisted of two swims. On the information swim, only one choice was open to the animal for escape. One minute later, a choice swim presented the animal with two choices with the escape platform in the opposite position. There were 10 trials per day for 10 days. Rats received 0, 30, 55, or 100 mg/kg, i.p. of modafinil 30 min prior to testing. Locomotor activity was also assessed using an open field monitor. Animals that received 55 and 100 mg/kg made significantly more correct choices, indicating that higher doses of modafinil learned the task faster than did controls. While animals that received 100 mg/kg did exhibit a facilitation of locomotor activity, this effect did not result in more efficient goal-directed behavior. Since no differences were found between groups in latency to find the platform, the observed differences in choice accuracy were not attributed to changes in motor activity. The evidence is consistent with previous research showing that modafinil facilitates cognitive processes.