Nicardipine prevents cognitive impairment due to chronic hypertension

M. H. Skinner, D. X. Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic hypertension (HTN) may adversely impact cognitive function in the elderly. Because these effects require years to become measurable, they are difficult to demonstrate in human populations. We used the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) to study the long-term effects of HTN on cognitive performance. Seven SHR and 7 normotensive (WKY) received nicardipine (N) 200 mg/L via drinking water until they reached 20 months of age. A similar number of control (C) SHR and WKY received plain tap water. Cognitive performance was assessed by the Morris water maze, a test of spatial navigation. We found a significant age-associated deterioration in performance of the SHR-C rats (p=.002) but not of the SHR-N, the WKY-N, or the WKY-C (all p>.2). At 20-months of age, performance of the SHR-N was significantly better than the SHR-C (p=.013). There was no difference between WKY-N and WKY-C performance (p>.2). The results suggest that long-standing, untreated HTN leads to impaired cognitive performance, and that nicardipine may provide a protective effect. This animal model may be useful in examining the cognitive effects of chronic HTN and antihypertensive drugs in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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