Long-term treatment of male F344 rats with deprenyl: Assessment of effects on longevity, behavior, and brain function

P. C. Bickford, C. E. Adams, S. J. Boyson, P. Curella, G. A. Gerhardt, C. Heron, G. O. Ivy, A. M.L.Y. Lin, M. P. Murphy, K. Poth, D. R. Wallace, D. A. Young, N. R. Zahniser, G. M. Rose

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35 Scopus citations


L-Deprenyl (selegiline) was chronically administered to male Fischer 344 rats via their drinking water beginning at 54 weeks of age (estimated daily dose: 0.5 mg/kg/day). Beginning at 84 weeks of age, the rats were behaviorally evaluated using a sensorimotor battery, a motor-learning task, and the Morris water maze. At 118 weeks of age, cerebellar noradrenergic function was evaluated in the surviving rats using in vive electrochemistry. The rats were then sacrificed to measure brain monoamine oxidase activity and perform quantitative autoradiography to evaluate the effect of chronic deprenyl treatment on β-adrenergic receptors in the cerebellum, α2- adrenergic receptors several brain regions, and D1 and D2 dopamine receptors in the striatum. Deprenyl treatment reduced brain monoamine oxidase B activity by 85%, but had no effect on brain monoamine oxidase A. A clear effect of chronic deprenyl treatment upon longevity was not observed. Several measures of CNS function were altered in the deprenyl-treated animals: 1) spatial learning in the Morris water maze was improved: 2) electrochemical signals recorded following local application of NE were reduced, and the responsiveness to the reuptake blocker nomifensine was enhanced. In the cerebellum: 3) β-adrenergic receptor binding affinity was increased in the cerebellum: 4) α2-adrenergic receptor density was increased in the inferior colliculus; and 5) striatal D1 dopamine receptor density was reduced but binding affinity was enhanced. In contrast, chronic deprenyl treatment did not cause changes in: 1) sensorimotor function, as evaluated by balance beam, inclined screen, or wire hang tasks; 2) motor learning; 3) α2-adrenergic receptor density in any region examined except for the inferior colliculus, or binding affinity in any region examined; or 4) striatal D2 dopamine receptor number or affinity. Thus, long-term oral administration of deprenyl extended the functional life span of rats with respect to cognitive, but not motor, performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Aging
  • Cerebellum
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hippocampus
  • Longevity
  • Motor learning
  • Noradrenergic receptors
  • Selegiline
  • Water maze


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