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Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Mar;33(3):625.e11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.03.018. Epub 2011 May 4.

Sildenafil ameliorates cognitive deficits and tau pathology in a senescence-accelerated mouse model.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


Aging is associated with a deterioration of cognitive performance and with increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders. In the present study we tested whether the specific phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor sildenafil could ameliorate the age-dependent cognitive impairments shown by the senescence-accelerated mouse prone-8 (SAMP8). Sildenafil administration (7.5 mg/kg for 4 weeks) to 5-month-old SAMP8 mice attenuated spatial learning and memory impairments shown by these mice in the Morris Water Maze. Tau hyperphosphorylation (AT8 but not PHF-1 epitope) shown by SAMP8 mice at this age was also decreased in the hippocampus of sildenafil-treated mice, an effect probably related to a decrease in cyclin-dependent kinase 5 protein expression and activity (p25/p35 ratio). Interestingly, sildenafil also phosphorylated Akt, which was associated with an increase of glycogen synthase kinase-3β phosphorylation, providing a plausible explanation for the reductions in tau hyperphosphorylation (AT8 and PHF-1 epitopes) and attenuation of cognitive deficits shown by 9-month-old SAMP8 mice. Overall, sildenafil might be beneficial in age-related brain dysfunction and could be an emerging candidate for the treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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