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Neuroscience. 2013 Mar 27;234:116-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.01.004. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Effects of prolonged agmatine treatment in aged male Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, New Zealand; Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, New Zealand.

Abstract

Increasing evidence suggests that altered arginine metabolism contributes to cognitive decline during ageing. Agmatine, decarboxylated arginine, has a variety of pharmacological effects, including the modulation of behavioural function. A recent study demonstrated the beneficial effects of short-term agmatine treatment in aged rats. The present study investigated how intraperitoneal administration of agmatine (40mg/kg, once daily) over 4-6weeks affected behavioural function and neurochemistry in aged Sprague-Dawley rats. Aged rats treated with saline displayed significantly reduced exploratory activity in the open field, impaired spatial learning and memory in the water maze and object recognition memory relative to young rats. Prolonged agmatine treatment improved animals' performance in the reversal test of the water maze and object recognition memory test, and significantly suppressed age-related elevation in nitric oxide synthase activity in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. However, this prolonged supplementation was unable to improve exploratory activity and spatial reference learning and memory in aged rats. These findings further demonstrate that exogenous agmatine selectively improves behavioural function in aged rats.

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