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Neuroscience. 2003;117(2):439-47.

Mecamylamine interactions with galantamine and donepezil: effects on learning, acetylcholinesterase, and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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Research and Technology Development, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, PA 19141, USA.


Patch-clamp recordings of single ion channel activity demonstrated that donepezil, but not galantamine, could be blocked by the nicotinic cholinergic antagonist mecamylamine, suggesting that galantamine acted at a separate (allosteric) site. The aim of this experiment was to demonstrate at a whole organism, behavioral level that galantamine, but not donepezil, could reverse mecamylamine-induced learning impairment. Forty-four young female rabbits received 15 sessions in the 750-ms delay eyeblink classical conditioning procedure, after one of five drug treatments: 0.5 mg/kg mecamylamine, 3.0 mg/kg donepezil, 0.5 mg/kg mecamylamine plus 3.0 mg/kg galantamine, 0.5 mg/kg mecamylamine plus 3.0 mg/kg donepezil, or sterile saline vehicle. An additional 24 young female rabbits were tested in the explicitly unpaired condition after treatment with the same mecamylamine plus galantamine or donepezil combinations or with vehicle. In a previous study we demonstrated that 3.0 mg/kg galantamine facilitated learning in young rabbits. Donepezil (3.0 mg/kg) did not facilitate learning in this experiment. However, both galantamine and donepezil reversed the deleterious effects of mecamylamine on learning. Significant differences in plasma and brain acetylcholinesterase levels were detected among the drug treatment groups. Fifteen daily injections did not produce statistically significant changes in nicotinic receptor binding in any of the five treatment groups. One possible interpretation of these results is that donepezil affected nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by raising the synaptic level of acetylcholine and hence, the probability of receptor activation, whereas galantamine bound to distinct allosteric sites not blocked by mecamylamine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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