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Neurochem Res. 1989 Oct;14(10):971-7.

The effect of heptyl-physostigmine, a new cholinesterase inhibitor, on the central cholinergic system of the rat.

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Department of Pharmacology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Springfield 62794-9230.


Heptyl-physostigmine (Heptyl-Phy; MF-201) is a new carbamate derivative of physostigmine (Phy) with greater lipophilicity and longer inhibitory action on cholinesterase (ChE) activity than the parent compound. Following single dose administration of 5 mg/kg heptyl-Phy i.m., maximal whole brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition (82%) if reached at 60 min. Inhibition of plasma BuChE butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) remains close to the steady state level (60%) between 120 and 360 min. At 360 min, whole brain AChE activity is still 67% inhibited compared to controls. Inhibition of AChE activity displays brain regional differences which are more significant at 360 min. At this time point, AChe activity in cerebellum is only 40% inhibited while frontal cortex and medial septum are still 80% inhibited. Increases in acetylcholine (ACh) levels also show regional differences, however, there is no direct relationship between AChE inhibition and ACh increase. The electrically evoked [3H]ACh release in cortical slices was inhibited only by the highest concentration of heptyl-Phy tested (10(-4) M). At this concentration ChE activity was 97% inhibited in vitro. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that heptyl-Phy compares favorably to other reversible cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI), particularly to Phy as far as producing a more long-lasting inhibition of AChE and a more prolonged increase of ACh in brain with less severe side effects. Therefore, it represents an interesting candidate for cholinomimetic therapy of Alzheimer disease (AD).

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