A The acetylcholinesterase inhibitors galantamine and tacrine are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. However, these compounds also affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Here, we compared and analyzed both the effects of galantamine-and tacrine on the evacuatory kinetics of the GI tract in rats. Rats were untreated (n=15) or treated with galantamine (one daily dose of 1 mg/kg per os for 21 days; n=17) or tacrine (one daily dose of 0.5 mg/kg per os for 21 days; n=13) and evacuatory kinetics were assessed using radiological methods. Galantamine initially slowed and then accelerated evacuation, which is characteristic of the majority of cholinesterase inhibitors and is a result of the endogenous acetylcholine accumulated in the GI tissues. In the tacrine-treated rats the contrast medium was kept in the stomach and cecum and its evacuation time was reliably increased. These results indicate that when administered for 20 days, galantamine and tacrine have different effects on motor and evacuatory function in the GI tract of rats, because at certain levels of the tract the tacrine-action is dominated by specific non-cholinergic and non-anticholinesterase mechanisms.
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