Classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane (NM)/eyeblink response has proven utility in the study of age-related memory disorders. The 750 ms delay eyeblink conditioning procedure was used to investigate the magnitude and duration of the nootropic drug nefiracetam's effect on retention and relearning. After administering daily injections of 0 (vehicle), 5, 10, or 15 mg/kg nefiracetam to 34 retired breeder rabbits during 15 days of acquisition, we tested retention and relearning 1, 5, and 12 weeks post-training. Rabbits received no drug after the initial 15 daily injections. Significant relearning was observed in the 10 mg/kg nefiracetam group 1 and 5 weeks after initial acquisition. Differences in tone-alone retention did not achieve statistical significance, although responses were numerically greater in the 10 mg/kg nefiracetam group. The effect of nefiracetam upon the ability of older rabbits to relearn a previously learned task is apparent up to 5 weeks after drug administration. Under normal conditions, a drug is administered continuously. In this experiment, nefiracetam had a significant effect long after drug administration had ceased. Prolonged administration of nefiracetam may have ameliorating effects greater than those observed in only 15 days of drug administration.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Cognition-enhancing drug
- Eyeblink classical conditioning
- Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience