We investigated the effects of nefiracetam on learning and memory by the Morris water maze task and water-finding test, and on emotional behavior by forced swimming, hole-board and open-held tests in old male Kbl Wistar rats aged 90 and 108 weeks. In the water maze task, the acquisition of the task in aged rats was slower than that in young rats. Subacute administration of nefiracetam (1 and 3 mg/kg daily) for 24 days tended to shorten the goal latency to escape onto the platform in a dose-dependent manner in the retention test, conducted 24 days after acquisition training. Nefiracetam (1 mg/kg) administration for 49 days decreased the duration of immobility in aged rats in the forced swimming test. Locomotor activity in young rats during the dark period was significantly higher than that during the light period, while there was no difference in locomotor activity between the light and dark periods in aged rats, suggesting that locomotor activity during the dark period and nocturnal habits. may be impaired in aged rats. Subacute administration of nefiracetam for 14 days significantly increased the locomotor activity during the dark, but not light, period in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, nefiracetam given for 38 days, significantly shortened the increased time elapsed before animals started exploring the environment in aged rats compared with young rats in the water-finding tests. These findings suggest that nefiracetam may improve the impaired nocturnal habits and some of emotional behavior in aged rats.
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