Glucose attenuates impairments in memory and CREB activation produced by an α4β2 but not an α7 nicotinic receptor antagonist

Ken A. Morris, Sisi Li, Duat D. Bui, Paul E. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Glucose improves memory for a variety of tasks when administered to rats and mice near the time of training. Prior work indicates glucose may enhance memory by increasing the synthesis and release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. To investigate if specific acetylcholine receptor subtypes may mediate some of the memory-enhancing actions of glucose, we examined the effects of subtype-specific nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonists on memory in Fischer-344 rats and also examined the ability of glucose to reverse drug-induced impairments. Pre-training peripheral injections of methyllycaconitine (MLA) or dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHβE), which are specific α7 and α4β2 nicotinic receptor antagonists, respectively, dose-dependently impaired retention latencies in an inhibitory avoidance task when tested 7-days but not 1 h after training. Immediate post-training glucose injections attenuated the impairments, but were more effective in attenuating the DHβE-induced impairments. Likewise, peripheral or direct intrahippocampal injections of MLA or DHβE dose-dependently impaired spatial working memory scores on a spontaneous alternation task. Concurrent administration of glucose reversed DHβE- but not MLA-induced impairments. CREB phosphorylation downstream of cholinergic signaling was assessed 30 min after spontaneous alternation testing and intrahippocampal drug infusions. Both MLA and DHβE impaired hippocampal CREB phosphorylation; glucose reversed DHβE- but not MLA-induced deficits. The effectiveness of glucose in reversing DHβE- but not MLA-induced impairments in behavioral performance and CREB phosphorylation suggests that activation of α7 receptors may play an important role in memory enhancement by glucose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Acetylcholine
  • Glucose
  • Memory
  • Nicotinic
  • α4β2 receptor
  • α7 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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