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A profile of the behavioral changes produced by facilitation of AMPA-type glutamate receptors


A newly developed group of benzoylpiperidine drugs that enhance AMPA-receptor-gated currents (“ampakines”) has been shown to improve memory encoding in rats across a variety of experimental paradigms. The present experiments were intended to i) provide a partial profile of the behavioral changes produced by ampakines, ii) test if two ampakines (BDP-12 and BDP-20) that differ significantly in their effects on AMPA receptor kinetics produce similar behavioral profiles, and iii) determine if physiological potency is reflected in behavioral potency. BDP-20 reduced two measures of exploratory activity in aged rats but increased speed of performance in a radial maze; the drug also caused substantially improved retention of spatial information. These results are similar to those obtained with BDP-12, an analog that differs from BDP-20 in its effects on ligand binding to the AMPA receptor and on the physiological responses of the receptors to glutamate. BDP-20 was approximately ten-fold more potent in behavioral effects than BDP-12, which agrees with the relative potencies of the two drugs as assessed with excised patches and excitatory synaptic responses. These findings indicate that ampakines, though differing in their effects on AMPA-receptor-mediated responses, have similar effects at the behavioral level.

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Received: 29 October 1996 / Final version: 3 March 1997

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Davis, C., Moskovitz, B., Nguyen, M. et al. A profile of the behavioral changes produced by facilitation of AMPA-type glutamate receptors. Psychopharmacology 133, 161–167 (1997).

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  • Key words Age-associated memory impairment
  • AMPA
  • Ampakines
  • Dose-response
  • Drug potency
  • Glutamate receptor
  • Radial maze