Donepezil dose-dependently inhibits acetylcholinesterase activity in various areas and in the presynaptic cholinergic and the postsynaptic cholinoceptive enzyme-positive structures in the human and rat brain

P. Kasa, H. Papp, P. Kasa, I. Torok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the symptomatic treatment of mild to moderately severe dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease, donepezil (E2020) has been introduced for the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity in the human brain. However, there is no morphological evidence as to how this chemical agent affects the acetylcholinesterase-positive structures in the various areas of the human and the rat CNS. This study demonstrates by histochemical means that donepezil exerts a dose-dependent inhibitory effect in vitro on acetylcholinesterase activity. The most sensitive areas were the cortex and the hippocampal formation. Within the different layers of the cortex, the cholinoceptive acetylcholinesterase-positive postsynaptic pyramidal cell bodies were more sensitive than the presynaptic cholinergic axonal processes. In the cortex, the cell body staining was already abolished by even 2x10-8M donepezil, whereas the axonal staining could be eliminated only by at least 5x10-8M donepezil. In the hippocampus, the axonal acetylcholinesterase reaction end-product was eliminated by 5x10-7M donepezil. The most resistant region was the putamen, where the staining intensity was moderately reduced by 1x10-6M donepezil. In the rat brain, the postsynaptic cholinoceptive and presynaptic cholinergic structures were inhibited by nearly the same dose of donepezil as in the human brain. These histochemical results provide the first morphological evidence that, under in vitro circumstances, donepezil is not a general acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in the CNS, but rather selectively affects the different brain areas and, within these, the cholinoceptive and cholinergic structures. The acetylcholinesterase staining in the nerve fibers (innervating the intracerebral blood vessels of the human brain and the extracerebral blood vessels of the rat brain) and at the neuromuscular junction in the diaphragm and gastrocnemius muscle of rat, was also inhibited dose dependently by donepezil.It is concluded that donepezil may be a valuable tool with which to influence both the pre- and the postsynaptic acetylcholinesterase-positive structures in the human and rat central and peripheral nervous systems. Copyright (C) 2000 IBRO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroscience
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 2000

Keywords

  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • CNS
  • Donepezil
  • Histochemistry
  • Peripheral nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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