Role of central angiotensin receptors in scopolamine-induced impairment in memory, cerebral blood flow, and cholinergic function

Santoshkumar Tota, Kashif Hanif, Pradeep Kumar Kamat, Abul Kalam Najmi, Chandishwar Nath
Psychopharmacology 2012, 222 (2): 185-202

RATIONAL: Inhibition of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) improves cognitive functions in hypertensive patients. However, role of AT1 and AT2 receptors in memory impairment due to cholinergic hypofunction is unexplored.

OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the role of AT1 and AT2 receptors in cerebral blood flow (CBF), cholinergic neurotransmission, and cerebral energy metabolism in scopolamine-induced amnesic mice.

METHODS: Scopolamine was given to male Swiss albino mice to induce memory impairment tested in passive avoidance and Morris water maze tests after a week long administration of blocker of AT1 receptor, candesartan, and AT2 receptor, PD123, 319. CBF was measured by laser Doppler flowmetry. Biochemical and molecular studies were done in cortex and hippocampus of mice brain.

RESULTS: Scopolamine caused memory impairment, reduced CBF, acetylcholine (ACh) level, elevated acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, and malondialdehyde (MDA). Administration of vehicle had no significant effect on any parameter in comparison to control. Candesartan prevented scopolamine-induced amnesia, restored CBF and ACh level, and decreased AChE activity and MDA level. In contrast, PD123, 319 was not effective. However, the effect of AT1 receptor blocker on memory, CBF, ACh level, and oxidative stress was blunted by concomitant blockade of AT2 receptor. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity, ATP level, and mRNA expression of AT1, AT2, and ACE remained unaltered.

CONCLUSION: The study suggests that activation of AT1 receptors appears to be involved in the scopolamine-induced amnesia and that AT2 receptors contribute to the beneficial effects of candesartan. Theses finding corroborated the number of clinical studies that RAS inhibition in hypertensive patients could be neuroprotective.

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