Prevention of amitriptyline-induced avoidance impairment by tacrine in mice

Flaminia Pavone, Mario Battaglia, Mario Sansone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The effects of two cognition enhancers on avoidance impairment induced by the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline were assessed during shuttle- box avoidance acquisition and in previously trained mice of the DBA/2 strain. The nootropic agent piracetam (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg, i.p.) had slight or no effect in mice receiving amitriptyline (5 or 10 mg/kg, i.p.). Conversely, the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor tacrine (0.5, 1, 2 or 3 mg/kg, i.p.) prevented the avoidance impairment induced by 5 mg/kg amitriptyline on shuttle-box avoidance acquisition as well as on a previously learned avoidance response. The avoidance disrupting action produced by 10 mg/kg of the antidepressant drug was not affected by the anticholinesterase drug. The preventing action of tacrine seems specifically related to the avoidance impairment induced by amitriptyline, since the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor did not reduce, but enhanced the avoidance impairing action of the neuroleptic chlorpromazine. Taken together, the results indicate that amitriptyline-induced avoidance impairment, and the related preventing action of tacrine, may be ascribed to drug effects on the performance of the avoidance response, rather than to interferences with learning processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • Amitriptyline
  • Avoidance behavior
  • Mice
  • Piracetam
  • Tacrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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