Facilitatory effects of piracetam on excitability of motor nerve terminals and neuromuscular transmission

E. D. Hall, P. F. Von Voigtlander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The possible in vivo facilitatory effects of the pyrrolidine acetamide no-otropic agent piracetam on neuromuscular transmission, were studied based upon reports of enhancement of central cholinergic function. Piracetam was shown to antagonize the lethal effects of the neuromuscular blocking agent hemicholinium-3 (HC-3), in female CF-1 mice when administered in a dose of 100mg/kg (i.p.) simultaneously with HC-3, A 30 mg/kg (i.p.) dose of piracetam was ineffective by itself, although it potentiated the protective effects of choline (25 mg/kg i.p.). The analogs of piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam, pramiracetam and dupracetam also significantly antagonized the lethality of HC-3 at doses over a 30-300 mg/kg range. The acute facilitatory properties of piracetam on neuromuscular transmission were examined in more detail in vivo in the soleus nerve muscle preparation of the cat. A 100 mg/kg (i.v.) dose of piracetam, while having no effect on its own, significantly enhanced the ability of a 200 μg/kg (i.v.) dose of edrophonium to produce a potentiation of muscle contraction dependent on repetitive discharges in the soleus motor nerve terminals. In preparations in which the motor nerve terminals of the soleus were in a partially degenerated state as a result of section of the motor axons 48 hr earlier, piracetam acted to restore their sensitivity to edrophonium. Furthermore, in both normal and partially degenerated preparations, piracetam significantly decreased the neuromuscular blocking effects of a 150 μg/kg (i.v.) dose of d-tubocurarine. The mechanism of the neuromuscular facilitatory effects of piracetam on neuromuscular transmission is discussed in terms of an enhanced excitability of motor nerve terminals together with an action to increase the synthesis and/or release of acetylcholine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573-1579
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1987


  • d-tubocurarine
  • edrophonium
  • hemicholinium-3
  • neuromuscular transmission
  • piracetam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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