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Brain Res. 1990 Jan 1;506(1):101-8.

Involvement of a steroidal component in the mechanism of action of piracetam-like nootropics.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Research Department, CIBA-GEIGY Limited, Basle, Switzerland.


Since adrenalectomy abolishes the memory-enhancing effects of piracetam and its derivatives, oxiracetam, aniracetam and pramiracetam, the question arises whether endogenous steroids play a role in their mechanism of action. We show that inhibition of steroid biosynthesis by aminoglutethimide and blockade of the aldosterone receptors by epoxymexrenone completely suppress the memory-improving effects of the nootropics. These results indicate that steroids, or, more precisely, activities mediated by the aldosterone receptors, might be involved in the mechanism of action of this class of nootropics. Blockade of aldosterone receptors, however, does not block the effects of cholinomimetics on memory, indicating the involvement of another mechanism of action.

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