Ampakines have shown beneficial effects on cognition in selected animal models of learning. However, their ability to modify long-term spatial memory tasks has not been studied yet. This would lend credence to their possible value in treating disorders of cognition. We evaluated the actions of subchronic Org 26576 administration on spatial reference memory performance in the 5-day Morris water maze task in male Sprague–Dawley rats, at doses of 1, 3 and 10 mg/kg twice daily through intraperitoneal injection over 12 days. Org 26576 exerted a dose and time-dependent effect on spatial learning, with dosages of 3 and 10 mg/kg significantly enhancing acquisition on day 1. Globally, escape latency decreased significantly as the training days progressed in the saline and Org 26576-treated groups, indicating that significant and equal learning had taken place over the learning period. However, at the end of the learning period, all doses of Org 26576 significantly improved spatial memory storage/retrieval without confounding effects in the cued version of the task. Org 26576 offers early phase spatial memory benefits in rats, but particularly enhances search accuracy during reference memory retrieval. These results support its possible utility in treating disorders characterized by deficits in cognitive performance.
aUnit for Drug Research and Development, Division of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
bSchering-Plough, Newhouse, Lanarkshire, UK
Correspondence to Brian H. Harvey, PhD, School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacology North-West University, Hofman Street, Potchefstroom, North-West Province 2520, South Africa
Received 10 March 2009 Accepted as revised 6 June 2009