Effects of oxiracetam-nicotine combinations on active and passive avoidance learning in mice

Mario Sansone, Claudio Castellano, Mario Battaglia, Martine Ammassari-Teule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tested alone, in CD-1 mice, the nootropic drug oxiracetam (50 mg/kg) improved learning in a multitrial active avoidance task (shuttle-box), but did not affect one-trial passive avoidance acquisition. Nicotine, which was ineffected at the dose of 0.25 mg/kg, improved both active and passive avoidance at the dose of 0.5 mg/kg; 1 mg/kg nicotine still exerted facilitating effects on passive avoidance, but slightly depressed shuttle-box performance. Combinations of oxiracetam and nicotine improved passive avoidance more than either drug given separately. In the active avoidance task, a combination of oxiracetam with the lower dose of nicotine exerted improving effects never observed with nicotine with alone, even at higher doses. The nootropic drug also prevented the slight depressant action exerted by 1 mg/kg nicotine. Thus, contrary to what was previously supposed, at least in mice subjected to shuttle-box avoidance training, nicotinic activation does not appear as the main neutrochemical mechanism involved in the action of oxiracetam. Perhaps, oxiracetam and nicotine activate different types of cholinergic mechanisms, but it cannot be excluded that other neurotransmitters, particularly catecholamines, may be involved in the avoidance facilitating effects produced by nicotine and by combinations of the two drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Avoidance learning
  • Mice
  • Nicotine
  • Oxiracetam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of oxiracetam-nicotine combinations on active and passive avoidance learning in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this