alpha-2 adrenoceptor antagonist
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary In order to study whether noradrenergic drugs improve age-related cognitive dysfunctions the present experiments investigated whether atipamezole, a selective and specific alpha-2 antagonist, improves spatial learning impairment due to cholinergic blockade (scopolamine 0.8 mg/kg) or aging in rats. Previously, it has been shown that atipamezole dose-dependently (0.03–3.0 mg/kg) increases the turnover of noradrenaline in rat brain. According to the present results, atipamezole (0.1, 0.3, 0.6 mg/kg) did not affect spatial learning/memory when assessed in a free swim trial of the water maze task in control rats. Furthermore, atipamezole (0.1, 0.6 mg/kg) did not improve learning deficit in scopolamine treated young rats. Higher doses (≥1.0 mg/kg) of atipamezole could not be tested, because they induce floating behaviour in rats. In aged rats, which were screened to be impaired in the initial acquisition of the water maze task, 0.3 mg/kg atipamezole impaired further learning of this task. Because previous studies suggest that age-related learning impairment in the water maze may be, at least partly, due to a cholinergic deficit, the present results suggest that atipamezole which increases the release of noradrenaline in brain does not alleviate this learning deficit.
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