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Brain Res. 2009 Feb 13;1254:128-37. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.11.095. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Effects of memantine and galantamine given separately or in association, on memory and hippocampal neuronal loss after transient global cerebral ischemia in gerbils.

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  • 1Instituto Teófilo Hernando, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/Arzobispo Morcillo 4, 28029 Madrid, Spain. silvia.lorrio@uam.es


Galantamine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and memantine is a non competitive antagonist of NMDA receptors that are being used to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. The fact that drugs with different mechanisms of action are available to treat AD introduces the prospect of prescribing drug combinations to amplify drug efficacy. This study was planed to evaluate the potential neuroprotective effects of galantamine combined with memantine in a transient global cerebral ischemia model in gerbils. Animal groups included in the study were: sham, ischemia, and ischemia plus galantamine (1 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg), memantine (10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg), 1 mg/kg galantamine plus 10 mg/kg memantine, and 10 mg/kg galantamine plus 10 mg/kg memantine, respectively. Surviving pyramidal neurons in the CA1 subfield of the hippocampus, TUNEL, caspase-3 and SOD-2 immunohistochemistries, and the object placement test were evaluated 72 h after reperfusion. Memantine did not exert a clear neuroprotective effect, nor did it prevent spatial memory loss. In a previous study using the same experimental model, galantamine was neuroprotective and improved spatial memory. In this study, the association of 10 mg/kg memantine with 10 mg/kg galantamine increased the number of living pyramidal neurons, reduced TUNEL, active caspase-3 and SOD-2 immunoreactivity, and preserved spatial memory after ischemia-reperfusion injury; however, the effects of the combination were not statistically different from those observed in animals treated with galantamine alone. We believe these results are of interest from a clinical point of view because the association of both drugs is being used in clinical practice and in clinical trials to treat Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

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