Rationale: Experimental studies have investigated the effects of chronic donepezil treatment on the behavioral deficits elicited by reduced activity or the loss of cholinergic neurons that occurs in aging or in models of dementia. However, few studies have analyzed the effects of chronic donepezil treatment on the cognitive functions of intact animals. Objectives: The cognitive functions of healthy young rats treated chronically with the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor donepezil were evaluated using a wide behavioral test battery. Results: Chronic treatment with donepezil ameliorated memory functions and explorative strategies, speeded up the acquisition of localizing knowledge, augmented responsiveness to the context, and reduced anxiety levels. However, it did not affect spatial span, modify motivational levels, or influence associative learning. Conclusions: The present findings show the specific profile of donepezil action on cognitive functions in the presence of unaltered cholinergic neurotransmission systems.
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor
- Behavioral test battery
- Cholinergic neurotransmission
- Cognitive enhancer
- Mnesic functions
ASJC Scopus subject areas