The Effects of Donepezil, an Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor, on Impaired Learning and Memory in Rodents

  • Received : 2017.09.25
  • Accepted : 2017.11.07
  • Published : 2018.05.01


A previous study in humans demonstrated the sustained inhibitory effects of donepezil on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity; however, the effective concentration of donepezil in humans and animals is unclear. This study aimed to characterize the effective concentration of donepezil on AChE inhibition and impaired learning and memory in rodents. A pharmacokinetic study of donepezil showed a mean peak plasma concentration of donepezil after oral treatment (3 and 10 mg/kg) of approximately $1.2{\pm}0.4h$ and $1.4{\pm}0.5h$, respectively; absolute bioavailability was calculated as 3.6%. Further, AChE activity was inhibited by increasing plasma concentrations of donepezil, and a maximum inhibition of $31.5{\pm}5.7%$ was observed after donepezil treatment in hairless rats. Plasma AChE activity was negatively correlated with plasma donepezil concentration. The pharmacological effects of donepezil are dependent upon its concentration and AChE activity; therefore, we assessed the effects of donepezil on learning and memory using a Y-maze in mice. Donepezil treatment (3 mg/kg) significantly prevented the progression of scopolamine-induced memory impairment in mice. As the concentration of donepezil in the brain increased, the recovery of spontaneous alternations also improved; maximal improvement was observed at $46.5{\pm}3.5ng/g$ in the brain. In conclusion, our findings suggest that the AChE inhibitory activity and pharmacological effects of donepezil can be predicted by the concentration of donepezil. Further, $46.5{\pm}3.5ng/g$ donepezil is an efficacious target concentration in the brain for treating learning and memory impairment in rodents.



Supported by : Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI)


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