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Alcohol. 1995 May-Jun;12(3):279-88.

Piracetam impedes hippocampal neuronal loss during withdrawal after chronic alcohol intake.

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Department of Anatomy, Porto Medical School, Portugal.


In previous studies we have demonstrated that prolonged ethanol consumption induced hippocampal neuronal loss. In addition, we have shown that withdrawal after chronic alcohol intake augmented such degenerative activity leading to increased neuronal death in all subregions of the hippocampal formation but in the CA3 field. In an attempt to reverse this situation, we tested, during the withdrawal period, the effects of piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide), a cyclic derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid, as there is previous evidence that it might act as a neuronoprotective agent. The total number of dentate granule, hilar, and CA3 and CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampal formation were estimated using unbiased stereological methods. We found out that in animals treated with piracetam the numbers of dentate granule, hilar, and CA1 pyramidal cells were significantly higher than in pure withdrawn animals, and did not differ from those of alcohol-treated rats that did not undergo withdrawal. These data suggest that piracetam treatment impedes, during withdrawal, the pursuing of neuronal degeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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