Cognitive impairment following traumatic brain injury: the effect of pre- and post-injury administration of scopolamine and MK-801

Robert J. Hamm, Dianne M. O'Dell, Brian R. Pike, Bruce G Lyeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations


In order to examine the effectiveness of pre- and post-injury administration of muscarinic cholinergic and NMDA antagonists in reducing cognitive deficits following traumatic brain injury (TBI), rats were injected with either scopolamine (1 mg/kg) or MK-801 (0.3 mg/kg) 15 min prior to or 15 min after fluid percussion TBI. Cognitive performance was assessed with the Morris water maze procedure on days 11-15 after TBI or sham injury. When scopolamine and MK-801 were injected 15 min before injury, Morris water maze deficits were significantly reduced (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). When scopolamine and MK-801 were injected 15 min after TBI, neither drug was effective in attenuating Morris water maze deficits. Consistent with other research, these results suggest that the cognitive deficits produced by TBI are the consequence of a brief period of excessive excitation of cholinergic and NMDA receptor systems. The results of this experiment also suggest that the temporal therapeutic window for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction with receptor antagonist intervention appears to be quite brief ( < 15 min) in the rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-226
Number of pages4
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes



  • MK-801
  • Morris water maze
  • Rat
  • Scopolamine
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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