Pharmacopsychiatry 1999; 32: 10-16
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-979231
Original Papers

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Piracetam Improves Cognitive Performance by Restoring Neurochemical Deficits of the Aged Rat Brain

K. Scheuer1 , A. Rostock2 , R. Bartsch2 , W. E. Müller1 ,   3
  • 1Department of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim, Germany
  • 2Pharmacological Research, AWD, Radebeul, Germany
  • 3Department of Pharmacology, Biocenter University of Frankfurt, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
20 April 2007 (online)


In order to test the hypothesis that piracetam improves cognitive functions by restoring biochemical deficits of the aging brain, we investigated the effects of piracetam treatment (300 mg/kg daily for 6 weeks) on the active avoidance performance of young and aged rats. After testing, the rats were killed and membrane fluidity and NMDA as well muscarinic cholinergic receptor densities were determined in the frontal cortex, the hippocampus, the striatum, as well as the cerebellum. Piracetam treatment improved active avoidance learning in the aged rats only and elevated membrane fluidity in all brain regions except the cerebellum in the aged animals. Moreover, we observed a positive effect of piracetam treatment on NMDA receptor density in the hippocampus and on muscarinic cholinergic receptor densities in the frontal cortex and the striatum and to a lesser extent in the hippocampus. Again, these effects were only observed in aged animals. Discrimination analysis indicated that piracetam effects on membrane fluidity in the frontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the striatum and its effects on NMDA densities in the hippocampus might be involved in its positive effects on cognitive performance.