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Behav Brain Res. 2005 Jan 6;156(1):85-94.

Effect of cholinergic medication, before and after focal photothrombotic ischemic cortical injury, on histological and functional outcome in aged and young adult rats.

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Department of Neuroscience and Neurology, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland.


The present study evaluated the effect of galanthamine, a selective competitive cholinesterase inhibitor, on histological and functional outcome after experimental stroke in rats. Cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used as cognitive enhancers for dementia in aged people, including those who may sustain ischemic attacks. Young adult (5 months) and aged (24 months) rats were treated with saline or galanthamine at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg (i.p., once a day). Drug treatment started 4 days before focal cortical photothrombosis (Rose Bengal, 20 mg/kg) and continued for 21 days thereafter. Sensorimotor recovery was assessed by a new beam-walking test and spatial learning by the Morris water-maze over a 3-week follow-up period. Infarct volumes were measured from nitroblue tetrazolium-stained sections at the end of follow-up. Infarct volumes in the cortex were similar in ischemic controls and ischemic rats treated with galanthamine. In the beam-walking test, there was a transient impairment forelimb function and a permanent impairment in hindlimb after cortical infarct both in young adult and aged rats. Galanthamine treatment did not affect the sensorimotor recovery rate. Analysis of water-maze data did not reveal significant differences in length of path, escape latency, or swim speed between sham-operated, ischemic controls and ischemic rats treated with galanthamine. In conclusion, present findings suggest that the aging brain has considerable plastic capacity to maintain functioning after focal cerebral insults restricted to the motor cortex. Galanthamine is not beneficial with respect to the histological or functional outcome in rats subjected to cortical photothrombosis.

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