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J Neurochem. 2011 Sep;118(5):864-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07355.x. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Acetyl-L-carnitine ameliorates spatial memory deficits induced by inhibition of phosphoinositol-3 kinase and protein kinase C.

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Department of Pathophysiology, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.


Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) plays a crucial role in memory deficits and tau hyperphosphorylation as seen in Alzheimer's disease, the most common dementia in the aged population. We reported that ventricular co-injection of wortmannin and GF-109203X (WT/GFX) can induce tau hyperphosophorylation and memory impairment of rats through activation of GSK-3 [Liu S. J., Zhang A. H., Li H. L., Wang Q., Deng H. M., Netzer W. J., Xu H. X. and Wang J. Z. (2003) J. Neurochem. 87, 1333]. In the present study, we found that feeding the rats with Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR, 50 mg/day·rat, per os) for 2 weeks rescued the WT/GFX-induced spatial memory retention impairment of the rats by antagonizing GSK-3β activation independent of Akt, PKCζ and Erk1/2. We also found that ALCAR arrested microtubule-associated protein tau hyperphosphorylation at multiple Alzheimer's disease sites in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, ALCAR enhanced the expression of several memory-associated proteins including c-Fos, synapsin I in rat hippocampus. These results suggest that ALCAR could ameliorate WT/GFX-induced spatial memory deficits through inhibition tau hyperphosphorylation and modulation of memory-associated proteins.

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