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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2009 Jul;92(1):106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

The levo enantiomer of amphetamine increases memory consolidation and gene expression in the hippocampus without producing locomotor stimulation.

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Sention Inc, Providence, RI 02906, USA.


Dextro-amphetamine enhances memory and other cognitive functions in animals and humans. The use of d-amphetamine as a memory enhancer, however, is limited by a robust stimulatory side-effect profile caused by release of dopamine. The levo enantiomer of amphetamine has been shown to be considerably less effective as a dopamine releaser and less potent in producing the stimulatory effects characteristic of d-amphetamine. In order to determine whether l-amphetamine and the structurally related compound, l-methamphetamine, retain cognitive-enhancing effects despite their lack of stimulatory activity, we administered the compounds to rats prior to activity monitoring experiments, and in different animals, immediately after training on inhibitory avoidance and object recognition tasks. Results demonstrated that l-amphetamine and l-methamphetamine did not increase locomotion and stereotypies beyond control levels, but did produce significant memory enhancement. In addition, l-amphetamine and l-methamphetamine alleviated scopolamine-induced amnesia in the inhibitory avoidance task. In all cases, these compounds produced an effect comparable to that of d-amphetamine, but required only one quarter of the d-amphetamine dose to produce the same effect size. We also found that l-amphetamine modulates learning-induced changes in hippocampal Arc/Arg3.1 protein synthesis that correlate with memory consolidation. These results suggest that l-amphetamine and l-methamphetamine are potent memory enhancers in rats and may ultimately be useful for treating memory disorders in humans.

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