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Scopolamine, a Toxin-Induced Experimental Model, Used for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease

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Scopolamine as a drug is often used to treat motion sickness. Derivatives of scopolamine have also found applications as antispasmodic drugs among others. In neuroscience-related research, it is often used to induce cognitive disorders in experimental models as it readily permeates the bloodbrain barrier. In the context of Alzheimer’s disease, its effects include causing cholinergic dysfunction and increasing amyloid-β deposition, both of which are hallmarks of the disease. Hence, the application of scopolamine in Alzheimer’s disease research is proven pivotal but seldom discussed. In this review, the relationship between scopolamine and Alzheimer’s disease will be delineated through an overall effect of scopolamine administration and its specific mechanisms of action, discussing mainly its influences on cholinergic function and amyloid cascade. The validity of scopolamine as a model of cognitive impairment or neurotoxin model will also be discussed in terms of advantages and limitations with future insights.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Muscarinic antagonist; acetylcholine; amyloid-beta plaque; cognitive dysfunction; scopolamine

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

This article was made available online on March 5, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Scopolamine, a Toxin-Induced Experimental Model, Used for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease".

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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