We have reported that continuous infusion of β-amyloid protein-(1-40) into the cerebral ventricle produces learning and memory deficits in rats. Propentofylline has potent stimulatory effects on nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis/secretion in mouse astrocytes in vitro and increases cerebral NGF content in aged rats. In the present study, we examined the effects of propentofylline on learning and memory deficits in β-amyloid protein- infused rats. The rats were given propentofylline orally once a day throughout the period of behavioral examination. In the β-amyloid protein- infused rats, spontaneous alternation behavior in a Y-maze, and performance in water maze and passive avoidance tasks were significantly impaired compared to sham-operated rats. Propentofylline prevented these behavioral deficits, but did not change the reduction of the activity of choline acetyltransferase in the hippocampus in the β-amyloid protein-infused rats. These results suggest that propentofylline is useful for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
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