Galanin inhibits performance on rodent memory tasks

Michael P. McDonald, Theresa C. Gleason, John K. Robinson, Jacqueline Crawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Central administration of galanin produces performance deficits on a variety of rodent learning and memory tasks. Galanin impairs acquisition and/or retention of the Morris water task, delayed nonmatching to position, T-maze delayed alternation, starburst radial maze, and passive avoidance in normal rats. A primary site of action is the ventral hippocampus, with an additional modulatory site in the medial septum-diagonal band. The behavioral actions of galanin at rat septohippocampal sites mediating cognitive processes are consistent with previous reports of inhibitory actions of galanin on acetylcholine release and cholinergically activated transduction at the M1 muscarinic receptor in rat hippocampus. The peptidergic galanin receptor antagonist M40 blocks the inhibitory actions of galanin on memory tasks. Treatment combinations of M40 with an M1 agonist, TZTP, improves performance on delayed nonmatching to position, in rats with 192IgG-saporin-induced cholinergic lesions of basal forebrain neurons. Nonpeptide, bioavailable, subtype-selective galanin receptor antagonists may provide tools to test the hypothesis that antagonism of endogenous galanin, which is overexpressed in the basal forebrain in Alzheimer's patients, can contribute to the alleviation of the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-322
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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