Acute administration of cyclosporine A does not impair attention or memory performance in healthy men

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There is clinical and experimental evidence that treatment with immunosuppressive and antiproliferative drugs such as the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine A (CsA) is associated with mental health problems and neuropsychological disturbances in patients. However, it remains unclear whether and to what extent cognitive functions such as memory and attention processes are affected by the pharmacological treatment. This is partly because of the fact that it is difficult to refer the observed neuropsychological disturbances in patients to the drug itself, to drug-induced immune suppression, or to interaction with other medication or comorbidities. Thus, in a double-blind study with healthy male participants (n=30), we investigated whether short-term intake of therapeutic doses of CsA (4×2.5 mg/kg) affects attention, working memory performance, and anxiety levels, measured with the Tests of Attentional Performance and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The data indicate that short-term CsA-administration and subsequent suppression in interleukin-2 production are accompanied neither by a decrease in attention or memory performance nor by increased anxiety levels in healthy male volunteers, suggesting that the short-term intake of CsA does not impair cognitive functioning. Further studies in healthy humans are needed to determine neurocognitive functions and mood states after short-term or subchronic treatment with different immunosuppressive and antiproliferative drugs.

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