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Piracetam Diminishes Hippocampal Acetylcholine Levels in Rats

Piracetam Diminishes Hippocampal Acetylcholine Levels in Rats

  1. Gradient
    Wurtman RJ, Magil SG, Reinstein DK

    Summary: Hippocampal acetylcholine levels were significantly depressed 30 min after rats received Piracetam (30-300 mg/kg, intraperitoneally).

    Piracetam [(oxo-2-pyrrolidinyl-1) 2 acetamine] reportedly improves memory and learning ability in normal people (1) and those with memory impairments (2). Piracetam's neurochemical mechanism of action remains obscure, but has been thought by some investigators to involve acceleration in cerebral ATP synthesis 92). We have examined the possibility that Piracetam might modify acetylcholine turnover in septohippocampal cholinergic neurons, a neuronal population thought, on the basis of other evidence, to be involved in certain components of memory. (This evidence includes the ability of scopolamine to impair, and physostigmine to restore, memory functions in normal humans (3); the loss in memory functions following certain hippocampal lesions (4); the apparently-selective loss of cholinergic brain neurons that characterizes Alzheimer's Disease (5,6,7,8); and the fragmentary evidence that administration of choline, lecithin, or physostigmine, can improve memory formation in normal and memory-impaired humans and animals (8,9,10,11,12). Our observations suggest that, in naive rats (i.e., animals accommodated in our facility for less than 2 days), Piracetam may accelerate septohippocampal release of acetylcholine.