BACKGROUND Dimebolin (latrepirdine), a compound with multiple potential drug targets, is being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and preliminary results suggest it can slow the disease process. There is also evidence that dimebolin directly improves aspects of cognition. Here we examined the acute effect of dimebolin on components of working memory in non-human primates, young adult (11-17 years old) and aged (20-31 years old) rhesus macaques. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH The effects of dimebolin (3.9-118 μg kg -1) on working memory, as measured by performance on delayed matching-to-sample (DMTS), were examined in the normal young adult monkeys and aged adult monkeys. All the monkeys studied were proficient in the performance of a computer-assisted DMTS task. In a subsequent experiment in the same subjects, dimebolin was administered 15 min before a cognitively-impairing dose (20 μg kg -1) of scopolamine. KEY RESULTS In both the young adult and aged monkeys, dimebolin significantly increased the DMTS task accuracies. In young adults, the task improvement was associated with long (retention/retrieval) delay trials, and a protracted enhancement was observed for sessions run 24 h post administration of a single dose. Dimebolin did not significantly attenuate the scopolamine-induced impairment. In the aged monkeys, dimebolin significantly improved the reduced task accuracies associated with long delay intervals. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Here we demonstrated that dimebolin is able to improve components of working memory in monkeys and to induce a protracted response for at least 24 h after administration of a single dose.
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