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Int J Neurosci. 2014 Feb;124(2):117-24. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2013.824437. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Effects of pregnenolone intervention on the cholinergic system and synaptic protein 1 in aged rats.

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Department of Neurology, Jinshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University , Shanghai , China.



To observe the effect of pregnenolone (PREG) intervention on the cholinergic system function and the synaptic protein 1 (SYP1) expression in different brain regions of aged rats.


Twenty-four-month-old male Sprague Dawley rats intraperitoneally injected every other day for one month were divided into blank control group, solvent control group, PREG (0.5 mg/kg) intervention group and PREG (2.0 mg/kg) intervention group. The rats were sacrificed 2 d after the intervention and the corresponding regions of brain tissue were separated and cryopreserved. Western blot analysis was used to detect the expression level of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), SYP1, serum PREG and the activity of ChAT and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in different brain regions. In addition, the semiquantitative changes in the expression level of ChAT and SYP1 in frontal lobe and hippocampus were tested by immunohistochemistry.


Western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis showed that PREG (2.0 mg/kg) administration led to a significant increase of ChAT and SYP1 expressions in frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and hippocampus regions (p < 0.05). The result of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that PREG (2.0 mg/kg) administration significantly increased ChAT activity and serum PREG levels and caused a decrease in AChE activity (p < 0.05); while PREG (0.5 mg/kg) only elevated levels of serum PREG.


PREG significantly improved the synaptic plasticity of memory-related brain areas of aged rats, significantly increased brain cholinergic activity and thus helps to improve learning and memory in aged rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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