Effects of a single dose of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor velnacrine on recognition memory and regional cerebral blood flow in Alzheimer's disease

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1992;108(1-2):103-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02245293.


The effects of a single oral dose of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor velnacrine maleate on word and object recognition memory and regional uptake of 99mTc-exametazime were examined in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Word recognition memory was marginally improved 2 h after 75 mg velnacrine. With the same dose of velnacrine a relative increase in superior frontal uptake of 99mTc-exametazime was shown with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). This suggests increased regional perfusion and metabolism as a consequence of cholinergic stimulation. The effect did not co-vary with the degree of memory improvement, but, instead, more cognitively impaired patients showed a greater increase in tracer uptake after velnacrine, suggesting cholinergic hypersensitivity in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physostigmine / therapeutic use
  • Tacrine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tacrine / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Tacrine
  • Physostigmine
  • velnacrine