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Huperzine A, a novel promising acetylcholinesterase inhibitor

Cheng, Dong Hang1; Ren, Hua1; Tang, Xi Can1,2

Learning and Memory

THE effects of huperzine A on memory impairments induced by scopolamine were evaluted using a radial maze task and inhibition of cholinesterase in vitro compared with the effects of E2020 and tacrine. Scopolamine (0.2 mg kg−1) significantly impaired spatial memory in rats. Huperzine A (0.1–0.4 mg kg−1, p.o.), E2020 (0.5–1.0 mg kg−1, p.o.) and tacrine (1.0–2.0 mg kg−1, p.o) could reverse these scopolamine-induced memory deficits. The ratios of huperzine A, E2020 and tacrine for butyrylcholinesterase:acetylcholinesterase determined by a colourimetric method were 884.57, 489.05, and 0.80, respectively. The results demonstrated that huperzine A was the most selective acetylcholinterase inhibitor, and improved the working memory deficit induced by scopolamine significantly better than did E2020 or tacrine, suggesting it may be a promising agent for clinical therapy of cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer's Disease.

1State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, P.R. China

2Corresponding Author: Xi Can Tang

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We are grateful to Dr Yuan Zhu for preparation of huperzine A.

Received 25 July 1996; accepted 9 September 1996

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.