Effect of chronic angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition on spatial memory and anxiety-like behaviours in rats

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Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEis) are widely used anti-hypertensive agents that are also reported to have positive effects on mood and cognition. The present study examined the influence of the ACEi, perindopril, on cognitive performance and anxiety measures in rats. Two groups of rats were treated orally for one week with the ACEi, perindopril, at doses of 0.1 and 1.0 mg/kg/day. Learning was assessed by the reference memory task in the water maze, comparing treated to control rats. Over five training days both perindopril-treated groups learnt the location of the submerged platform in the water maze task significantly faster than control rats. A 60 s probe trial on day 6 showed that the 1.0 mg/kg/day group spent significantly longer time in the training quadrant than control rats. This improved performance in the swim maze task was not due to the effect of perindopril on motor activity or the anxiety levels of the rats as perindopril-treated and control animals behaved similarly in activity boxes and on the elevated + maze. These results confirm the anecdotal human studies that ACEis have a positive influence on cognition and provide possibilities for ACEis to be developed into therapies for memory loss.

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