More from the Society of Neuroscience Meeting

Anders Sandberg (
16 Nov 1998 18:46:46 +0100

Some more cholinergic substances to enhance memory. :

Neuroscientist Edward Levin and his colleagues at Duke University have found that a nicotine agonist AR-R 17779 can improve learning and memory in rats undergoing a radial maze test, and have filed for a patent on the compound. It stimulates a subtype of nicotine receptors called alpha-7, and was shown to act in the hippocampus. This region is central to learning and memory, and is often impaired in people with Alzheimer's disease. "We're excited by these findings", says Levin, "they indicate that AR 17779 may have potential therapeutic use".

Similarly, Patrick Lippiello and colleagues at the R.J. Reynolds Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have also developed two compounds - RJR 2557 and RJR-1734 - that also stimulate Ach receptors in the brain, and which increase both short and long-term memory in the rat. They were also protected from dying when later exposed to toxic chemicals that normally cause the cells to die. This suggests, says Lippiello, that the compounds may have the ability to prevent the death of brain cells in Alzheimer's disease patients. But clinical trials of either sets of compounds have yet to demonstrate this in humans.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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