Functional activation of cerebral blood flow abolished by scopolamine is reversed by cognitive enhancers associated with cholinesterase inhibition: a positron emission tomography study in unanesthetized monkeys

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1997 Jun;281(3):1408-14.


The effects of somatosensory stimulation on the regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) response were studied in unanesthetized monkeys before and after treatment with scopolamine and three cognitive enhancers (physostigmine, E2020 and tacrine) that inhibit cholinesterase, using 15O-labeled water and high-resolution positron emission tomography. Under control conditions, somatosensory stimulation induced a significant increase in the rCBF response in the contralateral somatosensory cortex of monkey brain. Intravenous administration of scopolamine (50 microg/kg) resulted in abolishment of the rCBF response to stimulation. The rCBF response abolished by pretreatment with scopolamine was recovered by administration of physostigmine (1 or 10 microg/kg), E2020 (10 or 100 microg/kg) or tacrine (100 or 1000 microg/kg), in a dose-dependent manner. The effect of E2020 (100 microg/kg) on the rCBF response lasted for >4 hr, whereas the effects of physostigmine and tacrine were of shorter duration. These findings suggest that these compounds reversed the scopolamine-abolished rCBF response to somatosensory stimulation via enhancement of cholinergic neurotransmission, which was mainly induced by cholinesterase inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Donepezil
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Indans / pharmacology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Physostigmine / pharmacology
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Scopolamine / pharmacology*
  • Tacrine / pharmacology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indans
  • Piperidines
  • Tacrine
  • Donepezil
  • Physostigmine
  • Scopolamine