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Year : 1997  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 208-221

Assessment of nootropic and amnestic activity of centrally acting agents

Correspondence Address:
D S Reddy

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Cognitive deficits have long been recognized as severe and consistent neurological disorders associated with numerous psychiatric and neurodegenerative states such as Alzheimer's disease. Many experimental models are currently available for the evaluation of agents that affect learning and memory processes. Mazes are the traditional tool in assessing cognitive performance in animals. Apart from passive-avoidance task for short-term memory and Morris water maze task for spatial learning, other paradigms such as radial arm maze and Y-maze consistently measure the working/reference memory and agents that affect these processes. The transfer latency on elevated plus-maze is another simple paradigm to reveal the nootropic and amnestic activity of centrally acting agents. The complex-mazes such as Stone T-maze are built by combining several simple maze segments to assess mixed spatial, working/reference and taxon learning skills in animals. The active-avoidance behaviour induced by a sequence of conditioned and unconditional stimuli is a classic model for the assessment of cognitive performance after brain lesions or pharmacological disruption of cognition. Drug-induced acquisition/re-tention deficits, brain lesion-induced task specific cognitive dysfunction and electroshock-induced general amnesia may provide a consistent battery of screening models for the development of agents that ameliorates the memory deficits in rodents. Several human psychometric and verbal learning skill tests are also available for the clinical assessment and confirmation of nootropic activity. These rapid developments in the field of animal models of learning and memory processes may hopefully lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of cognitive disorders, and finally permit a rational designing of novel therapeutic strategies. for distinct cognitive dysfunctions.


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