The effects of L-glucose on memory in mice are modulated by peripherally acting cholinergic drugs

Catherine J. Lawson, Judi Homewood*, Alan J. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    D-Glucose improves memory in animals and humans and in subjects with memory pathologies. To date, the accepted conclusion drawn from animal research is that D-glucose improves memory via alterations in central cholinergic systems. However, recent evidence suggests that a sugar which does not cross the blood-brain barrier also facilitates memory (Talley, Arankowsky-Sandoval, McCarty, & Gold, 1999). The present study examined the effects of peripherally administered L-glucose, a stereoisomer of D-glucose, in male mice. Intraperitoneal administration of L-glucose (300 mg/kg) before testing enhanced place learning in the Morris water maze. Mice injected with L-glucose had significantly shorter escape latencies than mice injected with saline (1 ml/kg). Effects were observed on both reference memory and working memory tasks. L-Glucose did not facilitate performance on either task when it was simultaneously administered with cholinergic antagonists that are excluded from the central nervous system. Thus, simultaneous administration of either methylscopolamine (0.3 mg/kg), a peripherally acting muscarinic receptor blocker, or hexamethonium (1 mg/kg), a peripherally acting nicotinic receptor blocker, reversed the effect of L-glucose on memory. These findings suggest that the memory effects of L-glucose may be mediated by facilitated acetylcholine synthesis and/or release in the peripheral nervous system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-28
    Number of pages12
    JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • cholinergic mechanisms
    • memory
    • glucose
    • 1-glucose
    • peripheral effects
    • insulin


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