Piracetam-induced facilitation of interhemispheric transfer of visual information in rats
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- Burešová, O. & Bureš, J. Psychopharmacologia (1976) 46: 93. doi:10.1007/BF00421555
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The effect of Piracetam (UCB 6215, 2-pyrrolidone-acetamide) on learning mediated by transcommissural information flow was studied in hooded rats. Acquisition of monocular pattern discrimination was faster in drug-treated rats (100 mg/kg, 30 min before training) than in untreated controls. Subsequent relearning with one hemisphere functionally eliminated by cortical spreading depression showed that the strength of the primary engram formed under Piracetam in the hemisphere contralateral to the trained eye remained unaffected but that the secondary trace (in the ipsilateral hemisphere) was considerably improved and almost equalled the primary one (savings increased from 20–30% to 50–60%). Learning with uncrossed optic fibers was unaffected by the drug. Interhemispheric transfer of lateralized visual engrams acquired during functional hemidecortication was facilitated by Piracetam administration preceding the five transfer trials performed with the untrained eye open (imperative transfer). Piracetam was ineffective when the trained eye was open during transfer trials (facultative transfer). After a visual engram had been lateralized by 5 days of monocular overtraining, Piracetam facilitated formation of the secondary engram induced by 3 interocular transfer trials. It is concluded that Piracetam enhances transcommissural encoding mechanisms activated in the initial stage of monocular learning and in some forms of interhemispheric transfer, but does not affect the transcommissural readout. This effect is interpreted as a special case of the Piracetam-induced facilitation of the phylogenetically old mechanisms of redundant information storage which improve liminal or subnormal learning.