Divided attention-enhancing effects of AF102B and THA in aging monkeys

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999 Apr;143(2):123-30. doi: 10.1007/s002130050927.


The effects of cholinergic drugs proposed for treatment of cognitive impairment in normal aging and dementia on divided attention have been little studied in non-human primates. We tested the hypothesis that cholinergic drugs improve spatial divided attention in primates via a computer task requiring simultaneous tracking of two visual targets in three young and two aged healthy bonnet macaques. Task accuracy (number of correct responses) and reaction time (RT) were measured 2 h after administration of either the m1 agonist +/- -cis-2-methyl-spiro(1,3-oxathiolane-5,3')quinuclidine (AF102B; 0.1-2.1 mg/kg IM) or the cholinesterase inhibitor 9-amino-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroamino-acridine (THA; 0.5-2.0 mg/kg orally). Accuracy increased for four of five monkeys at appropriate doses of one or both cholinomimetics, accompanied in two monkeys by a drop in RT. Responses were less uniform to THA than to AF102B. For the five-monkey group at Best dose, accuracy increased 34% (THA) or 43% (AF102B) above baseline (P<0.05 for both drugs), respectively, with no significant change in RT and with minimal untoward effects. Cholinotherapy may improve divided attention in young and aged healthy primates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Cholinergic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Macaca radiata
  • Male
  • Muscarinic Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Quinuclidines / pharmacology*
  • Tacrine / pharmacology*
  • Thiophenes*


  • Cholinergic Agents
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Muscarinic Agonists
  • Quinuclidines
  • Thiophenes
  • Tacrine
  • cevimeline