Date: 03 Aug 2005
Lack of effects of guanfacine on executive and memory functions in healthy male volunteers
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Guanfacine is an α2-adrenergic receptor agonist that has been shown to have beneficial effects on working memory and attentional functions in monkeys and in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The aim of this study was to further investigate the cognitive-enhancing properties of guanfacine using an established battery of tasks measuring executive and memory functions.
Sixty healthy male volunteers were randomised into three groups. Cognitive testing was performed from +2 to +4 h after double-blind administration of a single oral dose of 1 or 2 mg of guanfacine or placebo.
Systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced by both doses of guanfacine at the end of the testing session. There were no statistically significant effects on any of the cognitive measures. Two trend effects were observed with poorer performance on digit span backward and slower ‘Go’ reaction times after guanfacine.
This study found no improvement of prefrontal memory or executive functions after guanfacine. Negative effects on blood pressure and trend effects on digit span backward and go reaction time indicate a mild sedative effect of guanfacine at these doses, possibly via mechanisms of autoreceptor down-regulation.
Arnsten AFT, Robbins TW (2002) Neurochemical modulation of prefrontal function in humans and animals. In: Stuss DT, Knight RT (eds) Principles of frontal lobe function. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 51–84
Arnsten AF, Cai JX, Goldman-Rakic PS (1988) The alpha-2 adrenergic agonist guanfacine improves memory in aged monkeys without sedative or hypotensive side effects: evidence for alpha-2 receptor subtypes. J Neurosci 8:4287–4298
Bond A, Lader M (1974) The use of analogue scales in rating subjective feelings. Br J Med Psychol 47:211–218
Cornish LA (1988) Guanfacine hydrochloride: a centrally acting antihypertensive agent. Clin Pharm 7:187–197PubMed
Crook T, Wilner E, Rothwell A, Winterling D, McEntee W (1992) Noradrenergic intervention in Alzheimer's disease. Psychopharmacol Bull 28:67–70PubMed
Franowicz JS, Kessler LE, Borja CM, Kobilka BK, Limbird LE, Arnsten AF (2002) Mutation of the alpha2A-adrenoceptor impairs working memory performance and annuls cognitive enhancement by guanfacine. J Neurosci 22:8771–8777PubMed
Friedman JI, Stewart DG, Gorman JM (2004) Potential noradrenergic targets for cognitive enhancement in schizophrenia. CNS Spectr 9:350–355PubMed
Herbert M, Johns MW, Dore C (1976) Factor analysis of analogue scales measuring subjective feelings before and after sleep. Br J Med Psychol 49:373–379PubMed
Horrigan JP, Barnhill LJ (1995) Guanfacine for treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in boys. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 5:215–223CrossRef
Howell D (2001) Statistical methods for psychology. Wadsworth, Belmont
Lezak MD, Howieson DB, Loring DW, Hannay HJ, Fischer JS (2004) Neuropsychological assessment, 4th edn. Oxford University Press, New York
Logan GD, Zbrodoff NJ, Fostey AR (1983) Costs and benefits of strategy construction in a speeded discrimination task. Mem Cogn 11:485–493
Robbins TW, James M, Owen AM, Sahakian BJ, Lawrence AD, McInnes L, Rabbitt PM (1998) A study of performance on tests from the CANTAB battery sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction in a large sample of normal volunteers: implications for theories of executive functioning and cognitive aging. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 4:474–490CrossRefPubMed
Rogers RD, Blackshaw AJ, Middleton HC, Matthews K, Hawtin K, Crowley C, Hopwood A, Wallace C, Deakin JF, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW (1999) Tryptophan depletion impairs stimulus-reward learning while methylphenidate disrupts attentional control in healthy young adults: implications for the monoaminergic basis of impulsive behaviour. Psychopharmacology 146:482–491PubMedCrossRef
Sagar HJ (1999) Clinicopathological heterogeneity and non-dopaminergic influences on behavior in Parkinson's disease. In: Stern GM (ed) Parkinson's disease [advances in neurology 80]. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, pp 409–417
Sahakian BJ, Owen AM (1992) Computerized assessment in neuropsychiatry using CANTAB: discussion paper. J R Soc Med 85:399–402PubMed
Turner DC, Robbins TW, Clark L, Aron AR, Dowson J, Sahakian BJ (2003) Cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology 165:260–269PubMed
- Lack of effects of guanfacine on executive and memory functions in healthy male volunteers
Volume 182, Issue 2 , pp 205-213
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Alpha receptor
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EB, UK
- 2. Department of Psychiatry, Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
- 3. Department of Anaesthesia, Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK