A long-acting cholinesterase inhibitor reverses spatial memory deficits in mice

Joanne E. Sweeney, Christine F. Höhmann, Timothy H. Moran, Joseph T. Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The effects of the long-acting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor, galanthamine, on spatial memory were investigated in mice. Mice received ibotenic acid or sham lesions to the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (nBM). Groups of nBM-lesioned and control mice were then trained on a modified Morris swim maze task. Each mouse was first placed on a platform and then into quadrants of the swim tank in a random order. Time required to find the hidden platform was measured. In different phases of testing, the animal had to find a platform that either remained in the same quadrant (reference memory component) or was moved daily (working memory component). The nBM-lesioned mice took significantly longer to find the platform as compared to controls on the working, but not on the reference, memory component of the task. Galanthamine (5.0 mg/kg, IP), given 3.5 hours before testing, improved performance on the working memory task in nBM-lesioned mice by 70% and strikingly impaired performance in controls. Galanthamine's ability to reverse cognitive deficits induced by nBM lesions and its comparatively long half-life suggest that it may be effective in treating the central cholinergic deficits in Alzheimer's disease patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1988


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Animal models for Alzheimer's disease
  • Galanthamine
  • Mice
  • Nucleus basalis lesions
  • Spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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