Cholinesterase inhibitors are currently used in the therapy of different kind of dementia to improve brain memory functions. The acetylcholinesterase inhibitor metrifonate was studied in naive rats and in rats with a model of sodium nitrite-induced hypoxia. One active avoidance test and in two passive avoidance tests were used. In the active avoidance test metrifonate increased the number of avoidances during the learning session only. In both passive avoidance tests, metrifonate prolonged latency differently during the learning session and in short-term or in long-term memory retention. Hypoxic rats showed lower numbers of avoidances in learning and memory retention sessions. Metrifonate increased the number of avoidances during the learning session for hypoxic rats. In the step-through passive avoidance test, metrifonate increased the latency of reactions in the learning session and in long-term memory retention tests. In the step-down passive avoidance test, the groups with hypoxia and metrifonate did not change the latency of reaction in the learning and long-term memory retention sessions, but increased the latency of reactions in the short-term memory retention test. Morphological data showed a significant impaired neuronal structure in a CA1 zone of the hippocampus in hypoxic rats and a tendency to preserving in rats treated with metrifonate. Our results suggest that metrifonate improves cognitive functions in naive and in hypoxic rats.
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