Semax, An ACTH(4-10) Analogue with Nootropic Properties, Activates Dopaminergic and Serotoninergic Brain Systems in Rodents


Corticotrophin (ACTH) and its analogues, particularly Semax (Met-Glu-His-Phe-Pro-Gly-Pro), demonstrate nootropic activity. Close functional and anatomical links have been established between melanocortinergic and monoaminergic brain systems. The aim of present work was to investigate the effects of Semax on neurochemical parameters of dopaminergic- and serotonergic systems in rodents. The tissue content of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the striatum was significantly increased (+25%) 2 h after Semax administration. The extracellular striatal level of 5-HIAA gradually increased up to 180% within 1–4 h after Semax (0.15 mg/kg, ip) administration. This peptide alone failed to alter the tissue and extracellular concentrations of dopamine and its metabolites. Semax injected 20 min prior d-amphetamine dramatically enhanced the effects of the latter on the extracellular level of dopamine and on the locomotor activity of animals. Our results reveal the positive modulatory effect of Semax on the striatal serotonergic system and the ability of Semax to enhance both the striatal release of dopamine and locomotor behavior elicited by d-amphetamine.

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Correspondence to Kirill O. Eremin.

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Special issue dedicated to Dr. Simo S. Oja.

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Eremin, K.O., Kudrin, V.S., Saransaari, P. et al. Semax, An ACTH(4-10) Analogue with Nootropic Properties, Activates Dopaminergic and Serotoninergic Brain Systems in Rodents. Neurochem Res 30, 1493–1500 (2005).

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Key words

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid
  • 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid
  • ACTH analogues
  • cognitive enhancers
  • d-amphetamine
  • dopamine
  • dopamine receptors
  • locomotor activity
  • melanocortin receptors
  • neurotrophic factors
  • Semax
  • serotonin