AR-R17779, and alpha7 nicotinic agonist, improves learning and memory in rats

Behav Pharmacol. 1999 Nov;10(6-7):675-80. doi: 10.1097/00008877-199911000-00014.


Nicotinic acetylcholine systems have been found to be important for learning and memory function. The prototypic nicotinic agonist nicotine has been shown in a variety of studies to improve aspects of cognitive function. The specific involvement of nicotinic receptor subtypes is now being investigated. The involvement of alpha7 nicotinic receptors was assessed in this project using a novel alpha7 nicotinic agonist, AR-R 17779. Repeated doses (subcutaneous injection 20 min before testing) of the racemic mixture AR-R 13489 and its active isomer AR-R 17779 were assessed in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats using the eight-arm radial maze. AR-R 13489 (2 mg/kg) caused a significant improvement of long-term win-shift acquisition after 3 weeks of training (n = 10 per group). The same dose of AR-R 17779 also caused a significant improvement in repeated acquisition within each daily session in the radial-arm maze. In another study, the active isomer AR-R 17779 significantly improved radial-arm maze working memory function in rats with lesions to the septohippocampal projection. Fimbria-fornix lesions significantly impaired working memory performance and AR-R 17779 significantly reversed that impairment. These studies showed that alpha7 nicotinic agonist treatment improved learning in two radial-arm maze tasks and reversed working memory impairment caused by fimbria-fornix sections, providing evidence for alpha7 involvement in learning and memory, and the potential therapeutic use of AR-R 17779.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bridged-Ring Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Learning / drug effects*
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Nicotinic Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects*
  • Spiro Compounds / pharmacology*
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor


  • AR-R 17779
  • Bridged-Ring Compounds
  • Chrna7 protein, rat
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Spiro Compounds
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor