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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 May;92(3):480-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.01.022. Epub 2009 Feb 1.

Blocking GABA-A receptors in the medial septum enhances hippocampal acetylcholine release and behavior in a rat model of diencephalic amnesia.

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  • 1Behavioral Neuroscience Program, Department of Psychology, Binghamton University-State University of New York, NY, USA. jessica.roland80@gmail.com


Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), a form of diencephalic amnesia caused by thiamine deficiency, results in severe anterograde memory loss. Pyrithiamine-induced thiamine deficiency (PTD), an animal model of WKS, produces cholinergic abnormalities including decreased functional hippocampal acetylcholine (ACh) release and poor spatial memory. Increasing hippocampal ACh levels has increased performance in PTD animals. Intraseptal bicuculline (GABA(A) antagonist) augments hippocampal ACh release in normal animals and we found it (0.50 microg/microl and 0.75 microg/microl) also increased in-vivo hippocampal ACh release in PTD animals. However, the 0.75 microg/microl dose produced a greater change in hippocampal ACh release in control animals. The 0.50 microg/microl dose of bicuculline was then selected to determine if it could enhance spontaneous alternation performance in PTD animals. This dose of bicuculline significantly increased hippocampal ACh levels above baseline in both PTD and control rats and resulted in complete behavioral recovery in PTD animals, without altering performance in control rats. This suggests that balancing ACh-GABA interactions in the septohippocampal circuit may be an effective therapeutic approach in certain amnestic syndromes.

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