The effects of piracetam on cognitive performance in a mouse model of Down's syndrome.

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Physiol Behav 2002 Nov; 77(2-3):403-9.


Piracetam is a nootropic agent that has been shown to improve cognitive performance in a number of animal model systems. Piracetam is reported to be used widely as a means of improving cognitive function in children with Down's syndrome (DS). In order to provide a preclinical assessment of the potential efficacy of piracetam, we examined the effects of a dose range of piracetam in the Ts65Dn mouse model of DS. Ts65Dn mice are trisomic for a region of mouse chromosome 16 with homology to human chromosome 21. Daily piracetam treatment at doses of 0, 75, 150, and 300 mg/kg ip was initiated in 6-week-old male Ts65Dn and euploid control mice. Following 4 weeks of treatment, mice were tested in the visible and hidden-platform components of the Morris water maze and were placed overnight in computerized activity chambers to assess effects on overall activity. Piracetam treatment was continued through the 4 weeks of testing. In control mice, 75 and 150 mg/kg/day piracetam improved performance in both the visible- and hidden-platform tasks. Although low doses of piracetam reduced search time in the visible-platform component in Ts65Dn mice, all piracetam doses prevented trial-related improvements in performance in Ts65Dn mice. The 300-mg/kg/day-piracetam dose was associated with a reversal of the nocturnal spontaneous hyperactivity in Ts65Dn. These data do not provide support for piracetam treatment for individuals with DS.

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