Amelioration of scopolamine-induced amnesia by phosphatidylserine and curcumin in the day-old chick

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In the one-trial taste-avoidance task in day-old chicks, acetylcholine receptor activation has been shown to be important for memory formation. Injection of scopolamine produces amnesia, which appears to be very similar in type to that of Alzheimer’s disease, which is correlated with low levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Traditional pharmacological treatments of Alzheimer’s disease, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and glutamate receptor blockers, improve memory and delay the onset of impairments in memory compared with placebo controls. These agents also ameliorate scopolamine-induced amnesia in the day-old chick trained on the one-trial taste-avoidance task. The present experiments examined the ability of two less traditional treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, phosphatidylserine and curcumin, to ameliorate scopolamine-induced amnesia in day-old chicks. The results showed that 37.9 mmol/l phosphatidylserine and 2.7 mmol/l curcumin significantly improved retention in chicks administered scopolamine, whereas lower doses were not effective. Scopolamine did not produce state-dependent learning, indicating that this paradigm in day-old chicks might be a useful one to study the effects of possible Alzheimer’s treatments. In addition, chicks administered curcumin or phosphatidylserine showed little avoidance of a bead associated with water reward, indicating that these drugs did not produce response inhibition. The current results extend the findings that some nontraditional memory enhancers can ameliorate memory impairment and support the hypothesis that these treatments might be of benefit in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

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