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Male Sprague-Dawley rats when administered sc a sublethal dose of organophosphorus cholinesterase inhibitors such as the nerve agents, soman (100 micrograms/kg, sc), sarin (110 micrograms/kg, sc), tabun (200 micrograms/kg, sc), or VX (12 micrograms/kg, sc), developed seizures and severe muscle fasciculations within 15-20 min, lasting for 4-6 hr. Marked inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and necrotic lesions in skeletal muscles such as soleus, extensor digitorum longus, and diaphragm were evident between 1-24 hr following injection. Pretreatment with memantine HCl (MEM, 18 mg/kg, sc) together with atropine sulfate (ATS, 16 mg/kg, sc), 60 min and 15 min, respectively, prior to nerve agents attenuated AChE inhibition, prevented myonecrosis, and muscle fasciculations as well as other signs of cholinergic toxicity. Pretreatment combining d-tubocurarine (d-TC, 0.075 mg/kg, sc) and ATS (16 mg/kg, sc) prevented the myonecrosis and fasciculation without protecting AChE against inhibition by these nerve agents. Neither MEM, d-TC, nor ATS in the concentration given interfered with the normal behavior of the rats. The role of d-TC and ATS interaction with presynaptic receptors regulating ACh release and MEM's role in modulating neural hyperactivity as protective mechanisms are discussed.


R C Gupta, W D Dettbarn. Potential of memantine, D-tubocurarine, and atropine in preventing acute toxic myopathy induced by organophosphate nerve agents: soman, sarin, tabun and VX. Neurotoxicology. 1992;13(3):649-61

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PMID: 1475066

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