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The effects of the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. WAY-100,579 and ondansetron (both at doses of 0.001, 0.01 and 0.1 mg/kg s.c.) and the muscarinic receptor agonist arecoline (1.0 mg/kg s.c.), on spatial learning and memory in the water maze were examined in rats after combined S-AMPA lesions to the nucleus basalis and medial septal brain regions. Lesioned rats showed substantially increased latency to find the submerged platform, and spent less time searching in the correct quadrant, and more time circling the periphery of the pool, relative to controls. Lesioned rats treated with WAY-100,579, ondansetron and arecoline exhibited marked improvement in these parameters of learning relative to lesioned animals, with arecoline-treated animals showing the most substantial recovery. Linear dose-related trends of improvement were seen with both of the 5-HT3 antagonists. In probe trials, testing retention of the platform position 24 and 72 h after the end of training, control rats exhibited substantial superiority relative to lesioned rats in accuracy of search in the training quadrant and former platform area, matched by rats treated with arecoline on the first, and by rats treated with the two higher doses of WAY-100,579 and ondansetron on the second probe trial. These results are consistent with our previous studies which demonstrated that another selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. WAY-100,289, significantly reversed the cognitive deficits in water maze performance induced by ibotenic acid lesions of forebrain cholinergic projection system. Therefore, selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists may provide a novel effective therapy for treating cognitive deficits associated with degeneration of central cholinergic neurones, such as Alzheimer's disease or age-associated memory impairment.


H Hodges, P Sowinski, J J Turner, A Fletcher. Comparison of the effects of the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists WAY-100579 and ondansetron on spatial learning in the water maze in rats with excitotoxic lesions of the forebrain cholinergic projection system. Psychopharmacology. 1996 May;125(2):146-61

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PMID: 8783389

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