Biomedical Updates

Galantamine Reverses Lead-Induced Brain Impairment

Chronic lead exposure causes assorted impairments in learning, memory and cognitive function. In the hippocampus, synaptic plasticity is a well-studied model of learning and memory. It includes long-term potentiation (LTP), long-term depression (LTD) along with depotentiation (DP). While prior studies have shown that chronic lead exposure can damage the induction of LTP/LTD in hippocampal areas, a new study conducted at University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui Province investigated the repair and protection on lead-caused synaptic plasticity impairment by galantamine.1

Using what is known as field-potential recording on chronic lead exposure rats, the scientists found that chronic lead exposure impaired LTP/DP induction in the considered regions of the hippocampus, and galantamine caused a significant increase on the amplitudes of LTP/DP of lead-exposed rats. There was only a small increase in the non-exposed group. This suggests that galantamine could reverse the lead-induced impairments of synaptic plasticity in rats. Therefore, galantamine might be an effective protocol to treat and cure cognitive deficits induced by lead.


  1. Luo YY, Zhu DM, Ruan DY. Galantamine rescues lead impaired synaptic plasticity in rat dentate gyrus. Toxicology 2011 Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print]

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