Effects of combined muscarinic and nicotinic blockade on choice accuracy in the radial-arm maze.
Acetylcholine (ACh) systems have been found to be crucial for the maintenance of accurate cognitive performance. A great variety of studies have shown that the muscarinic ACh receptor blocker scopolamine impairs choice accuracy in the radial-arm maze. Recently, it has been found that the nicotinic ACh receptor blocker mecamylamine also impairs radial-arm maze choice accuracy. In the present study, we investigated the effects of combined administration of these two ACh blockers. Scopolamine (0.15 mg/kg) and mecamylamine (10 mg/kg) each moderately impaired choice accuracy. Combined treatment with scopolamine and mecamylamine significantly decreased choice accuracy relative to either drug alone. This combination treatment lowered choice accuracy to chance levels. These data show that nicotinic and muscarinic blockade have at least additive effects in producing an anterograde memory deficit. Concurrent blockade of these two components of ACh systems may provide a better animal model of cognitive impairments due to the loss of cholinergic neurons, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Levin, ED; McGurk, SR; South, D; Butcher, LL
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