Pro-cognitive activity in rats of 3-furan-2-yl-N-p-tolyl-acrylamide, a positive allosteric modulator of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

A. Potasiewicz, T. Kos, F. Ravazzini, G. Puia, H. R. Arias, P. Popik, Agnieszka Nikiforuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7 nAChRs) may represent useful targets for cognitive improvement. The aim of this study is to compare the pro-cognitive activity of selective α7-nAChR ligands, including the partial agonists, DMXBA and A-582941, as well as the positive allosteric modulator, 3-furan-2-yl-N-p-tolyl-acrylamide (PAM-2). Experimental Approach The attentional set-shifting task (ASST) and the novel object recognition task (NORT) in rats, were used to evaluate the pro-cognitive activity of each ligand [i.e., PAM-2 (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mg·kg-1), DMXBA and A-582941 (0.3 and 1.0 mg·kg-1)], in the absence and presence of methyllycaconitine (MLA), a selective competitive antagonist. To determine potential drug interactions, an inactive dose of PAM-2 (0.5 mg·kg-1) was co-injected with inactive doses of either agonist - DMXBA: 0.1 (NORT); 0.3 mg·kg-1 (ASST) or A-582941: 0.1 mg·kg-1. Key Results PAM-2, DMXBA, and A-582941 improved cognition in a MLA-dependent manner, indicating that the observed activities are mediated by α7 nAChRs. Interestingly, the co-injection of inactive doses of PAM-2 and DMXBA or A-582941 also improved cognition, suggesting drug interactions. Moreover, PAM-2 reversed the scopolamine-induced NORT deficit. The electrophysiological results also support the view that PAM-2 potentiates the α7 nAChR currents elicited by a fixed concentration (3 μM) of DMXBA with apparent EC50 = 34 ± 3 μM and Emax = 225 ± 5 %. Conclusions and Implications Our results support the view that α7 nAChRs are involved in cognition processes and that PAM-2 is a novel promising candidate for the treatment of cognitive disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5123-5135
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


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