Improvement of contextual memory by S 24795 in aged mice: comparison with memantine.
ABSTRACT RESULTS: In comparison with 5-month-old mice, 18- to 19-month-old mice exhibited a severe and specific memory impairment in a contextual serial discrimination (CSD) task involving the learning and remembering of two successive spatial discriminations carried out on two distinct floors. This impairment was specific, as spatial memory, simultaneously tested on a simple discrimination (SD) task, was not affected in these aged mice. This deficit was completely reversed by 9-day per os administration of S 24795, a partial agonist of alpha 7 nicotinic receptors, at either 0.3 or 1.0 mg/kg. Memantine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, also had a memory-enhancing effect at a dose of 3.0 mg/kg, but not at 0.3 mg/kg. CONCLUSIONS: The memory-enhancing effect of S 24795 was due to a strong enhancement of contextual memory as indicated by a decrease in interference rate, whereas memantine enhanced spatial/semantic memory. S 24795 was more effective than memantine and also appears to be more specific to flexible forms of memory, one of the first cognitive domains (i.e. episodic memory) affected in Alzheimer's disease.
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ABSTRACT: N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are present in high density within the cerebral cortex and hippocampus and play an important role in learning and memory. NMDA receptors are negatively affected by aging, but these effects are not uniform in many different ways. This review discusses the selective age-related vulnerabilities of different binding sites of the NMDA receptor complex, different subunits that comprise the complex, and the expression and functions of the receptor within different brain regions. Spatial reference, passive avoidance, and working memory, as well as place field stability and expansion all involve NMDA receptors. Aged animals show deficiencies in these functions, as compared to young, and some studies have identified an association between age-associated changes in the expression of NMDA receptors and poor memory performance. A number of diet and drug interventions have shown potential for reversing or slowing the effects of aging on the NMDA receptor. On the other hand, there is mounting evidence that the NMDA receptors that remain within aged individuals are not always associated with good cognitive functioning. This may be due to a compensatory response of neurons to the decline in NMDA receptor expression or a change in the subunit composition of the remaining receptors. These studies suggest that developing treatments that are aimed at preventing or reversing the effects of aging on the NMDA receptor may aid in ameliorating the memory declines that are associated with aging. However, we need to be mindful of the possibility that there may also be negative consequences in aged individuals.Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 03/2010; 2:11. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2010.00011
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ABSTRACT: There are declines in the protein expression of the NR2B (mouse epsilon2) and NR1 (mouse zeta1) subunits of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus during aging in C57BL/6 mice. This study was designed to determine if there is a greater effect of aging on subunit expression and a stronger relationship between long-term spatial memory and subunit expression within the synaptic membrane than in the cell as a whole. Male, C57BL/6JNIA mice (4, 11 and 26 months old) were tested for long-term spatial memory in the Morris water maze. Frontal cortex, including prefrontal regions, and hippocampus were homogenized and fractionated into light and synaptosomal membrane fractions. Western blots were used to analyze protein expression of NR2B and NR1 subunits of the NMDA receptor. Old mice performed significantly worse than other ages in the spatial task. In the frontal cortex, the protein levels of the NR2B subunit showed a greater decline with aging in the synaptic membrane fraction than in the whole homogenate, while in the hippocampus a similar age-related decline was observed in both fractions. There were no significant effects of aging on the expression of the NR1 subunit. Within the middle-aged mouse group, higher expression of both NR2B and NR1 subunits in the synaptic membrane of the hippocampus was associated with better memory. In the aged mice, however, higher expression of both subunits was associated with poorer memory. These results indicate that aging could be altering the localization of the NR2B subunit to the synaptic membrane within the frontal cortex. The correlational results suggest that NMDA receptor functions, receptor subunit composition, and/or the environment in which the receptor interacted in the hippocampus were not the same in the old animals as in younger mice and this may have contributed to memory declines during aging.Neuroscience 06/2009; 162(4):933-45. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.05.018
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ABSTRACT: Background: There is a great need to develop memory-enhancing drugs for the treatment of memory dysfunctions. Although many targets have been identified in preclinical studies, the number of clinically effective drugs is limited. Objective: In this overview, the relation between drug effects on hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory-enhancing effects is explored for drugs that modulate cholinergic or glutamatergic neurotransmission or inhibit cyclic nucleotide metabolism. Methods: We limited our analysis to drug targets that are in clinical use or in development for the treatment of cognitive deficits and that have been tested in LTP. Results/conclusion: Although these drugs have been shown to improve in vitro or in vivo LTP and memory performance in many different models, no clear correlation between positive effects in LTP and behavioural assays is possible. The effectiveness in behavioural models is based on various models assessing different aspects of cognition. More uniformity in the use of behavioural tests is encouraged to better understand drug effects on different memory processes (i.e., acquisition, consolidation and retrieval). The systematic use of in vitro models such as LTP improves our understanding of the molecular mechanism of drug efficacy. This may lead to a better selection of models relevant to the specific cognitive processes disrupted in different pathological conditions and a more differentiated development of memory-enhancing drugs.Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery 09/2008; 3(9):1067-1080. DOI:10.1517/174604220.127.116.117