, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 266-271

Cholinergic modulation of memory in rats

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Central cholinergic systems have long been implicated in the modulation of learning and memory processes in animals and man. Drugs that affect the central cholinergic system have been found either to enhance or to hinder performance in tests of learning and memory. Few studies have evaluated the effects of different cholinergic drugs within a single experimental paradigm and with a relatively wide dose range. The studies reported here investigated the effects of cholinergic drugs with diverse modes of action on the retention of a passive avoidance response. Physostigmine, arecoline, oxotremorine, nicotine, and 4-aminopyridine were administered IP immediately following the acquisition of a one-trial passive avoidance task. All of the drugs were found to enhance 72-h retention of passive avoidance; however, the effective doses were different for each of the drugs studied.