The effects of acute and repeated pyridostigmine bromide administration on response acquisition with Immediate and delayed reinforcement

Frans Van Haaren*, Reinoud De Jongh, James B. Hoy, Janet L. Karlix, Charles J. Schmidt, Ian R. Tebbett, Donna Wielbo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This experiment was designed to assess the effects of acute and repeated administration of pyridostigmine bromide (a carbamate with prophylactic and therapeutic uses) on response acquisition. Experimentally naive, male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to a situation in which lever presses were either immediately followed by food-pellet presentation or after a 16-s resetting delay. Different groups of rats received either one acute administration of pyridostigmine bromide (10 mg/kg, by gavage) or repeated pyridostigmine administration for 7 days (1.5 mg/kg/day, by gavage). Other groups were treated with distilled water for the same period of time. Both acute and repeated pyridostigmine bromide administration decreased serum cholinesterase levels by approximately 50%, but neither treatment affected brain cholinesterase levels in our assay. Acute and repeated drug administration produced the same behavioral effects. Subjects exposed to the 0-s delay conditions obtained many more food pellets than those exposed to the 16-s delay conditions. Administration of pyridostigmine bromide delayed the onset of responding in some, but not all, of the subjects in the treated groups, independent of the delay condition to which they were exposed. Many more responses were observed on an inoperative lever during the 16-s delay conditions than during the 0-s delay conditions, especially during the 16-s delay condition in which subjects had received acute vehicle administration. Whether or not these effects of small doses of pyridostigmine bromide on response acquisition are of central or peripheral origin will need to be determined in future studies, as response acquisition in the present experiment may have been affected by pyridostigmine's effects on gastrointestinal functioning and/or motor activity. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-394
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 1999 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.


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