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The galantamine prodrug, Memogain®, reverses deficits in hippocampal neurogenesis associated with the loss of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons

Van Kampen JM, Kay DG, Maelicke A (2014) The galantamine prodrug, Memogain®, reverses deficits in hippocampal neurogenesis associated with the loss of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Neuroscience 2014 Abstracts 789.21. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

Summary: Loss of basal forebrain cholinergic innervation of the hippocampus and severe neuronal loss within the hippocampal CA1 region are early hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and are strongly correlated with cognitive status. This loss of cholinergic innervation is a key factor underlying alterations in hippocampal neurogenesis, which are also characteristic of AD. We have previously reported the effects of various cholinergic compounds on hippocampal neurogenesis indicating that acetylcholine serves as a potent neurogenic regulator. Memogain® (GLN 1062) is an inactive galantamine pro-drug with 15 fold higher brain availability than galantamine. It is designed to provide improved blood brain barrier penetration, greater potency, and fewer side effects than the cholinesterase inhibitors currently used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia. This would serve both to promote patient adherence and permit the use of higher doses. Galantamine is unique among the cholinesterase inhibitors in that it also has allosteric actions at α-7 nicotinic receptors, activation of which has been linked to both disease-modifying and cognitive enhancing effects, as well as effects on hippocampal cell proliferation. Here, we describe the neurogenic actions of Memogain® in a rodent model of cholinergic depletion. Infusion of the immunotoxin, 192IgG saporin (SAP), used to induce selective basal forebrain cholinergic cell loss reminiscent of that found in AD, resulted in a pronounced loss of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons and hippocampal ChAT fiber density. Consistent with earlier reports, SAP-lesioned animals had significantly fewer BrdU+ and PCNA+ cells in both the dentate gyrus and CA1 region of the hippocampus, when compared to sham-operated control animals. These animals also displayed significant impairments in spatial working memory, as assessed by a T-maze and the radial arm maze. By contrast, animals treated with Memogain® displayed a restoration of hippocampal cell proliferation, increased neuronal cell counts, normalized neuronal migration, and improvements in cognitive function. Thus, the beneficial effects of Memogain® may extend beyond acute cognitive enhancement, to include disease modification through support of hippocampal neurogenesis.

Related Products: 192-IgG-SAP (Cat. #IT-01)