We recently found that glucose injections attenuate amnesia and hyperactivity produced by scopolamine, a muscarinic antagonist. The present study examined whether glucose would augment behavioral effects produced by a muscarinic agonist, physostigmine. In experiment I, doses were first determined for which neither glucose (10 mg/kg) nor physostigmine (0.05 mg/kg) altered scopolamine-induced hyperactivity. However, combined glucose-physostigmine injections significantly reduced scopolamine hyperactivity. Experiment If evaluated the effects of glucose on physostigmine-induced tremors. Glucose (10, 100, and 250 mg/kg) or saline injections were given 20 min before physostigmine injections (0.4 or 0.05 mg/kg). Observations of glucose effects on the severity of physostigmine-induced tremors were then obtained at 5-min intervals for 25 min after physostigmine injections. Glucose (100 mg/kg) significantly facilitated the onset of tremors when injected before either dose of physostigmine, and augmented (at 100 and 250 mg/kg) tremor severity when injected before the lower dose of physostigmine. These findings indicate that glucose can facilitate the actions of a cholinergic agonist on two behaviors, locomotor activity and tremors, adding support to the view that circulating glucose levels can modulate central cholinergic function. More generally, the results provide additional evidence that circulating glucose levels can influence brain function.
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