Acetylcholinesterase and Cognitive Enhancement

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Synonyms

Anti-Cholinesterases

Definition

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are molecules that inhibit the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from metabolizing (hydrolyzing) acetylcholine, thus increasing both the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Pharmacological Properties

Cholinergic System Effects on Cognitive Functioning

Several decades of research support the critical role of CNS cholinergic systems in cognition in humans, particularly in learning and memory formation and attention. Beginning with studies by Drachman (1977), temporary blockade of muscarinic receptors produced impairments of learning and memory that resembled changes associated with normal aging and was proposed as a model of the cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Such findings were supported by animal studies showing that cognitive performance of younger animals after the administration of scopolamine was similar to older untreated animals ...