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Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Apr;32(4):698-706. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.04.012. Epub 2009 May 14.

The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor modulator GLYX-13 enhances learning and memory, in young adult and learning impaired aging rats.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Northwestern University, 1801 Maple Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201, USA.


NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activity has been strongly implicated in both in vitro and in vivo learning models and the decline in cognitive function associated with aging and is linked to a decrease in NMDAR functional expression. GLYX-13 is a tetrapeptide (Thr-Pro-Pro-Thr) which acts as a NMDAR receptor partial agonist at the glycine site. GLYX-13 was administered to young adult (3 months old) and aged (27-32 months old) Fischer 344 X Brown Norway F1 rats (FBNF1), and behavioral learning tested in trace eye blink conditioning (tEBC), a movable platform version of the Morris water maze (MWM), and alternating t-maze tasks. GLYX-13 (1mg/kg, i.v.) enhanced learning in both young adult and aging animals for MWM and alternating t-maze, and increased tEBC in aging rats. We previously showed optimal enhancement of tEBC in young adult rats given GLYX-13 at the same dose. Of these learning tasks, the MWM showed the most robust age related deficit in learning. In the MWM, GLYX-13 enhancement of learning was greater in the old compared to the young adult animals. Examination of the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD) at Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses in hippocampal slices showed that aged rats showed marked, selective impairment in the magnitude of LTP evoked by a sub-maximal tetanus, and that GLYX-13 significantly enhanced the magnitude of LTP in slices from both young adult and aged rats without affecting LTD. These data, combined with the observation that the GLYX-13 enhancement of learning was greater in old than in young adult animals, suggest that GLYX-13 may be a promising treatment for deficits in cognitive function associated with aging.

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